‘Wednesday’ review: Jenna Ortega makes Netflix’s Addams Family series look like a snap



Although the main character’s name was inspired by the poetic line “Wednesday’s child is full of sorrow,” “Wednesday” is generally a joy, thanks almost entirely to Jenna Ortega. After her Disney Channel days, Ortega turns the Addams Family’s now-high-school-aged daughter into the most hilarious goth sociopath you’ll ever meet, in a Netflix series that’s more creepy or yucky. is a cookie

Director Tim Burton sets just the right visual tone — a mix of comedy and macabre that resembles “Edward Scissorhands” — while teaming up with Alfred Gough and Miles Miller, the creators of “Smallville,” a TV show centered around an eccentric teenager. Know something about making. . Indeed, when Wednesday is admitted to a new private school, Nevermore Academy, she tells the headmistress (“Game of Thrones’s” Gwendoline Christie) about her school-to-school commute, “They made me strong enough to hold on. Not made ”

That might change at Nevermore, a poetic name for this haven for the weird and the magical, with a supernatural atmosphere that’s as much Hogwarts (or X-Men) as Charles Adams’ signature comic strip.

Wednesday not only has to deal with psychic abilities and the strange sightings that accompany them, but a mystery emerges that turns the unsuspecting girl into a bad-tempered, ebony-clad Nancy Drew, trying to figure out Who is responsible when the clues start? To circle back to your family tree.

It’s obviously a fairly derivative mashup of genre elements, but the mix works in part because the smaller ingredients are also tasty, from Catherine Zeta-Jones and Luis Guzman to Wednesday’s parents, Morticia and Gomez. , her sidekick Thing, who gets her a dress. Wanted by employment – what else? – A “five-finger discount.” The writers get a great deal of comedic mileage out of that ending, so give them a hand.

What separates “Wednesday” from similar efforts (Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” comes to mind), ultimately, is Ortega, who somehow manages to be consistently weird, a winking intensity. Portrait and oddly endearing all at once. When character descriptions include never raising one’s voice or cracking even a hint of a smile, that’s no small feat.

Throw in nifty touches like Christina Ricci, who played Wednesday as part of the school staff in the 1990s movies, and the local sheriff (Jamie McShane) dismissing Wednesday and his classmates as the “Scooby Gang,” and the series is on multiple runs level

Perhaps inevitably, “Wednesday” can’t sustain its initial kick as the serialized story unfolds over eight episodes, and the ending becomes too chaotic. Then again, it’s hardly surprising that the nature of the source material is geared more towards small jokes than a larger overarching story.

Trying to bring something new to a property like The Addams Family, which has been done many times before, is not easy without changing its DNA. To its credit, “Wednesday” rises to the challenge and mostly manages to make it look like a snap.

“Wednesday” premieres on Netflix on November 23.

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