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Overall Rating
2.19

Awesome: 4.4%
Worth A Look: 10.99%
Just Average: 19.78%
Pretty Crappy: 28.57%
Sucks36.26%

6 reviews, 55 user ratings



Stepford Wives, The (2004)
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by Jay Seaver

"All surface"
2 stars

Even more than with most remakes, a present-day edition of The Stepford Wives is a bad idea. The term "Stepford Wife" has entered the general lexicon, and even those of us who haven't read Ira Levin's book or seen the first adaptation know what it means. To try to create a new version is, in a way, like reamking Godzilla or Superman in the present day; it winds up existing in a weird parallel universe where the very concept of giant monsters or superheroes hasn't already become a familiar pop-cultural touchstone.

This is a huge roadblock; how should a filmmaker handle it when the logical first reaction to the situation for characters in a movie called The Stepford Wives would, logically, be to say "this looks like something out of The Stepford Wives"? The first option that leaps to mind is for the movie to be so well-made that the audience forgets that it's the regurgitation that was new thirty years ago but is now shorthand, another movie's throwaway line to quickly and universally describe a situation. The second would be to find something new and modern to say with it.

The Frank Oz-directed Stepford Wives manages neither. Having one of the "wives" be a gay man, for instance, is cosmetic rather than truly clever. There's a tiny glimmer of hope at the start, as Nicole Kidman's Joanna Eberhard is a rather cold-blooded and cynical television executive, peddling emasculation via unscripted TV. There's a dark area for black comedy, horror, or a clever combination of the two there, with the idea that there's this thread of mysandry in modern American culture. If The Stepford Wives could pull off the trick of making a small part of even the most liberal of us want to see Joanna replaced with a docile robot, or feel that she deserves an attitude adjustment, that would be something.

But director Frank Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick wuss out. Fifteen minutes into the movie, anything resembling ambiguity disappears, as does anything resembling originality. The bulk of the movie passes without a single moment that doesn't seem utterly familiar, and not just because the trailer spills almost everything. The film backs away from anything edgy, and sucks any dramatic tension out of it, while the jokes are mostly bland. Bette Midler - Bette Midler! - winds up being the most entertaining member of a cast that includes Kidman, Christopher Walken, Matthew Broderick, and Glenn Close.

The worst part, though, is the movie's train wreck of an ending. The filmmakers make a complete mess out of the movie's science-fictional aspects, they stoop to "resolution via random button-pushing", they utilize the idiot plot, and they undercut anything resembling a theme the movie may have been developing. The movie contradicts itself within spaces of 15 seconds. Then comes the overused celebrity cameo, and a final scene that delivers one very weak laugh when anger is called for.

The Stepford Wives reminds me of another of this year's remakes, Dawn Of The Dead. It transplants and polishes the surface elements, but has no idea of what to fill this surface with.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=10009&reviewer=371
originally posted: 06/17/04 23:11:45
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User Comments

8/05/08 Screwball It was okay for a sunday afternoon 3 stars
8/23/07 Matt Forgettable fluff with a few amusing moments. Wait for it on TV. 3 stars
2/16/07 Vip Ebriega Really funny parody of a classic tale of horror. 4 stars
11/10/06 David Pollastrini boring, dull, etc. 1 stars
10/08/06 isis ok... 3 stars
6/07/06 Peggy Doty GOOD REMAKE OF AN OLD MOVIE 4 stars
5/21/06 Diane P very very bad and disappointing 2 stars
11/21/05 Kurtis J. Beard Atrocious. Walken is even bad. Didn't see that coming. 1 stars
10/26/05 deadwiz I found it quite funny. Nothing special though. 3 stars
10/19/05 odditie Survivable 3 stars
10/18/05 the untrained eye At least the original had Katherine Ross' boobies. 1 stars
8/25/05 Nick Worst movie ever! Are they robots or implant victims? Why was there a Nicole Kidman Robot? 1 stars
4/30/05 alice stupid, boring, loved the first one this one sucks 1 stars
1/12/05 Tom Benton A brainless and simple remake that can be enjoyable. 3 stars
11/14/04 Gabby Why why why why? What's the point? What a waste of celuloid! 1 stars
10/23/04 R Smith Film should have attacked bullies and wife beaters. 1 stars
9/26/04 alicia to put it eloquently: it sucked 1 stars
9/09/04 farwonth Maybe one or two laughs, the rest ...what the f#$% 2 stars
9/08/04 Gary Newton technicolour battle of the sexes,well acted but just a tad cheesy 3 stars
9/07/04 Wes Luther C'mon valerie hart. This could put an end to one's being a fan of Nicole! 1 stars
8/31/04 Wanda Ruhr Needed Ashley Judd in it. Then we'd have been warned that it is atrocious. 1 stars
8/29/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne C'mon K Man, WATERWORLD is a masterpiece compared to this braindead harpy vomit! 1 stars
8/27/04 K Man just as shi--y as Waterworld 1 stars
8/26/04 Maureen McDevitt It had some pretty funny lines... but totally missed the point of the original. 3 stars
8/24/04 Millie Maelstrom Insults men, women, Christians, Jews alike. Blames victims. Real harpy turd of a movie! 1 stars
8/15/04 McGraw Bad, bad, bad...a totall mess of a film. 1 stars
8/07/04 Alien assassin Don't you dare do this to "Westworld", Mr. Oz !!! 1 stars
8/01/04 valerie hart wotch it for nicole if ur a fan of hers uwill luv the film if not its to light hearted 4 stars
8/01/04 Daniel Roemer This movie is wonderful and the ending is even better 5 stars
7/25/04 My Two Cents Very funny black comedy. But too short. Could have accom a few more scenes. 4 stars
7/23/04 Sandy Turynowicz confusing & not to good 2 stars
7/17/04 legend Where to being with this awful film...umm..a fire would be nice. Save your money. 1 stars
7/14/04 crystal Dood, Nicole Kidman... 5 stars
7/11/04 sd Such promise, such a mess. Set designers can hold head up, however. 2 stars
7/08/04 J Cadiramen Watch it for Nicole, and enjoy Bette to boot! A hoot! 5 stars
7/03/04 Carly I think this movie was way better than the first and Nicole Kidman is an amzing actress. 4 stars
6/27/04 Deanna Schlocky but so was the original movie. Message: we've gone to far to go back now. 4 stars
6/19/04 SF Glenn Close is the only thing worth watching. 3 stars
6/18/04 Carrielle I thought it wasthe best of the summer it ROCKED!!! 5 stars
6/18/04 Gray not one positive straight male is shown fuck this flick! 1 stars
6/18/04 Emily i didn't like it 2 stars
6/17/04 Ryan Nice 4 stars
6/17/04 Unanon My only funny theatre experience here was a lost toddler calling for her mommy. Seriously. 2 stars
6/15/04 Lola Awesome story Line but this remake was pathetic. It was pretentious and un-funny. 1 stars
6/15/04 Boyinthedesignerbubble The new cast was good, but the original was still far better. 3 stars
6/15/04 Marce It was light, fluffy and entertaining; extactly what it aimed to be and nothing more. 4 stars
6/14/04 Rex if you've seen the trailer, you've seen the movie 1 stars
6/14/04 Norm Hilarious!! 4 stars
6/14/04 roy Worthless 2 stars
6/14/04 The Talking Elbow Jason Oz, how come you only gave your dads movie 4 of 5 stars? 3 stars
6/13/04 Kelly Nicole Kidman's more concerned with her collagened lips and overacts -- it's distracting 3 stars
6/12/04 Anne Peterson tries to push a silly, watered-down feminist angle and just reinforces stereotypes 1 stars
6/11/04 dave go watch garfield, its better than this crap 1 stars
6/11/04 Jason Oz Support my dad! 4 stars
6/10/04 robert berkoff pass 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jun-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 09-Nov-2004

UK
  N/A

Australia
  15-Jul-2004


Directed by
  Frank Oz

Written by
  Paul Rudnick

Cast
  Nicole Kidman
  Matthew Broderick
  Bette Midler
  Glenn Close
  Christopher Walken
  Jon Lovitz



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