MOVIE REVIEW: Stars missing the fright stuff
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Two and a half stars
Director: Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon
Starring: Charlize Theron, Chloe Grace Moretz, Allison Janney
Running: time 87 minutes
Verdict: Takes the ooky out of spooky
THE McMansions fast encroaching upon the Addams family's crumbling, mist-shrouded asylum aren't all that's been "Trumanised" in this bland reboot of the popular 1960s TV show.
Morticia (Charlize Theron), everybody's favourite ghoul mother, has lost much of her mojo.
The lugubrious Lurch (Conrad Vernon) has been reduced to a musical accompanist.
Hell, even the carnivorous plants lack bite.
Young Wednesday Addams (Chloe Grace Moretz) does her best to liven things up with a concentrated dose of adolescent angst, but it's an uphill battle.
Having been "cage-schooled" by her overprotective parents for her entire life, the marvellously morbid teenager rebels, with characteristic sangfroid, by attending the local junior high school where she is befriended by a fellow misfit.
Parker (Elsie Fisher) introduces Wednesday to smart phones, social media and pink, unicorn barrettes.
In return, Wednesday cuts the school's resident mean girl/bully down to size and treats Parker to an edgy Gothic makeover.
While the blossoming friendship represents a significant challenge for Wednesday's bizarre
family of eccentrics, their reaction pales in comparison to that of Parker's mum, Margaux Needler (Allison Janney), a celebrity renovator-turned-property developer with hair so big it makes Farrah Fawcett's famous '70s "do" look positively subdued.
As The Addams Family is keen to point out, monsters come in all shapes and sizes.
To build her latest, homogenous development, Margaux has drained the swamps around the Addams family's abode - with the unanticipated effect of exposing their haunted 19th-century refuge to public view.
The ruthless businesswoman immediately declares war on the terrible "eyesore" because she is worried about its effect on property prices, and she manipulates her fellow townsfolk into running the "freaks" out of town.
By holding a cracked, cobwebbed mirror up to capitalist conformity, The Addams Family aims to be a light, fun celebration of diversity.
But the humour is stiff and the kookiness self-conscious - a lifeless Thing and Snoop Dogg's Cousin Itt are particularly underwhelming.
This fourth movie adaptation - and first animated feature - based on Charles Addams' cartoons is strangely flat.
Audiences might reasonably have expected more from such a star-studded cast and directors Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon (Sausage Party).
This version of The Addams Family is not nearly ooky or spooky enough.