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The Stepford Wives

12 Sep

I am a huge fan of the original Stepford Wives, starring Katherine Ross as Joanna Eberhart, an unhappy housewife who comes to Stepford with her husband, hoping to find a new life. The original Stepford, based on the best selling novel of the same name by Ira Levin, is dated and of course the roles of man/woman, husband/wife have changed quite dramatically since the original Stepford was released. But overall the original Stepford Wives was true to the story and had direction and you know what the movie is about. When I heard there was a remake I just HAD to see it. If you remember the 1975 version of ‘The Stepford Wives’ don’t be concerned that the memory will spoil this 2004 version. This is very, very different, including a totally different ending (which was changed apparently, after test audiences panned the original ending, They should have listened a little better to this test audience and not released this movie at all).

The new Stepford Wives is nothing like the original but a satire. I soon become bored. The jokes are not funny and the acting is even worse. Nicole Kidman who plays the Katherine Ross role of Joanna Eberhart is no longer the 70’s housewife wanting to please her husband, and save her marriage but yet unhappy in her role. The new version of Joanna is now a well-known television executive behind the newest highs/lows in reality TV. You can tell right away that Nicole should not have been cast in this movie. The script is chaotic, and so too becomes Nicole. Joanna Eberhart is not a performance she’ll much want to remember. Nor will we.

If there could have been some development of the Joanna character, (or any character for that matter) maybe this movie would have passed the bar, but it doesn’t. You can’t even begin to wonder why this woman married Walter Kresby in the first place not to mention move to Stepford Ct. to save her marriage. What marriage?

I was immediately annoyed with Matthew Broderick’s character. It made me think that I was possibly watching Ferris Bueller, the Later Years. With stars like these in the supporting roles, Close, Walken, and Midler; I expected so much more. And then to add the stereotypical gay couple… Roger Bart has some great campy lines but you have to wonder why there is a gay couple in the re-make. I was ready to turn the movie off.

We come to discover that all of the Stepford wives were originally judges, CEOs, finance wizards, etc. and that men are terrified of successful women and wish they could transform them into sex slaves that also transform into ATM machines and spew dollar bills from their mouths.

The trouble with ‘The Stepford Wives’ is that it doesn’t seem to know if it is a thriller or a comedy or a drama. The story is well set up, and badly let down by a poor ‘let’s tie this up neatly’ ending. The science fiction angle is neglected; the thriller aspects are also neglected at the expense of trying to be too clever with a too clever ending. But still, there are some redeeming features, it’s just a pity they are so scarce.

In short, The Stepford Wives is ridiculous. Put together for one purpose. To make money, this Stepford surely isn’t the picture its studio intended to make. D-

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Posted by on September 12, 2006 in Comedy, Reviews

 

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