Although it didn't enjoy the unbridled success of its predecessor, this comic sequel is tons of squeamish fun, finally capturing the ghoulishly funny, dark edge of the cartoons upon which the '60s television series and first film were based. Screenwriter Paul Rudnick has been permitted a freer hand, his trademark wit and biting social satire presenting themselves in the form of a scheming gold digger played with gusto by Joan Cusack and a wholesome summer camp that is systematically destroyed and traumatized by the Machiavellian plotting of Wednesday Addams. The latter is a breakout role for actress Christina Ricci, making a major impression with her gloomy demeanor and blessed with perfect gothic looks. Cinematographer-turned-director Barry Sonnenfeld provides his usual crisp, flawlessly composed images, but the film definitely lacks the sitcom bathos of the first film, to the delight of some and dismay of others. It comes down to a battle between those who prefer the demonically humorous art of Charles Addams and those who prefer the watered-down TV show and sitcom gag-writer vibe of the first film. It seems the tastes of the latter group won, as Addams Family Values grossed only a fraction of the first film, its failure consigning further sequels to the direct-to-video bin.