It has been a long time since I last watched the 1993 movie, “Addams Family Values.” It was shown again on cable in time for Thanksgiving, and I had to admit I still find it disturbingly hilarious and devilishly delightful as I did 15 years ago.
I terribly miss Raul Julia. He was a terrific actor who still had plenty to offer but sadly passed away in 1994. Rarely has there been anyone who can portray characters (such as Gomez in this movie) the way he way he did–with his unique intensity and fiery gusto. Joan Cusack was in her comic element as the gold-digging nanny slash deranged black widow, Debbie, in low-cut white uniforms. And I was surprised that there many talented actors in the movie who were doing bit parts, too, since apparently they weren’t yet well-known. Some had roles so small you would miss them if you blink. There was Nathan Lane (before Bird Cage) who portrayed a funny sarcastic desk sergeant. Cynthia Nixon (pre- Sex and the City) was one of nanny applicants applying for the job. Tony Shalhoub (pre-Monk) was a sailor in a bar, serenading Cusack. David Hyde Pierce (before Frasier) was the doctor who delivered the new baby Addams. Christine Baranski (before Bird Cage and The Grinch) and Peter MacNicol (pre-Ally McBeal) were the annoying waspy camp counselors. Mercedes MacNab (before she was known as Harmony in Buffy the Vampire Slayer) was the bratty kid, Amanda while David Krumholtz (pre-The Santa Clause and Numb3rs) was Wednesday’s ‘Mon Cher.’
Here are some of my favorite lines from Paul Rudnick‘s clever script:
Amanda: Hi, I’m Amanda Buckman. Why are you dressed like that?
Wednesday: Like what?
Amanda: Like you’re going to a funeral. Why are you dressed like somebody died?
Gomez: He [Baby Pubert] has my father’s eyes.
Morticia: Gomez, take those out of his mouth.
Debbie: I just can’t tell, does he like me at all?
Morticia: Of course he does. He vomited.
[Pugsley hits a bird during archery practice and it falls in front of them–dead]
First Camp Counselor: (gasps) It’s an American Bald Eagle!
Second Camp Counselor: But… aren’t they extinct?
Wednesday: They are now.
Debbie: I’ll be leaving the country very shortly.
Ticket Agent: Will you be traveling alone?
Debbie: Yes, I’ll be a widow.
Gomez: [shouting] I demand justice! Someone has married my brother!
Desk Sergeant: [sarcastically] No!
Gomez: She took him to Hawaii!
DS: [cynically] Get outta here!
Gomez: They have moved into a large, expensive home where they make love… constantly!
DS: I hate when that happens!
Gomez: Arrest her at once, without delay!
Gomez: Debbie. My brother’s wife, the temptress of Waikiki!
DS: (Loses patience) Who are you? What are you? Who moved the rock?
Morticia: Good night, Debbie.
Debbie: Good night.
Morticia: Scream if you need anything.
Gomez: [to Fester] You’ll meet someone. Someone very special. Someone who won’t press charges.
Debbie: Where do you find these Addams men?
Morticia: It has to be damp.
And I saved the best line for last: Wednesday’s memorable monologue during the Thanksgiving play at Camp Chippewa. It’s better if you watch it than to read it …it’s quite a rip-roaring riot (pun intended)! As Gomez would say: “(Here’s) to mirth…to merriment…to manslaughter!”