The Addams Family
Time Out says'Unhappy, darling?' Gomez asks his wife. 'Totally' replies Morticia with a blissful smile. This behavioural inversion is the key, indeed the only, gag of the film. But for a one-joke movie, this adaptation of the TV series based on the New Yorker cartoons still summons up enough laughs. The chief pleasure is in the casting: Huston was born to play cadaverously glamorous Morticia; Julia buckles a goodly swash as her duelling, devoted husband; and Lloyd is so good as Fester that you feel the film was written as a star vehicle for him. But then Fester alone is allowed any development - is he really an impostor after the family fortune? - and it's hard to care what happens to the rest. Even the film's glorious look is second-hand (you can tell that visual effects supervisor Alan Munro worked on Beetlejuice), with the Coen brothers' cinematographer Barry Sonnenfeld setting a cracking pace in his directorial debut, but suggesting that Tim Burton might have given the film the edge it lacks. Ooky the Addamses may be, subversive they ain't; it plays like a paean to the nuclear family.