Film & DVD Review: The Stepford Wives

Director: Frank Oz
Certificate PG-13
Running time 102 minutes

Reviewed by Jacqueline

Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks pictures present a Scot Rudin/De Line Pictures Production.

The original Stepford Wives in 1975, being a motion picture thriller was based on Ira Levin’s best-selling book. The producers Scott Rudin, Donald De Line and Director Frank Oz got together with Paul Rudnick, Screenwriter to update the movie and in their opinion make it a “modern American comedy.”

However in my opinion the film struggles to be comical, its main actors Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick just don’t do it, they don’t cut the mustard. Kidman seems to be way over her head in this part, she fails to be funny and Broderick is wooden.

The best character role goes to Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler), who is a newcomer to Stepford. She is hilarious. In one particular scene at The Stepford Book Club meeting she jokes lewdly about where she would put her Christmas cones. As she puts it “she is going to attach a pine cone to her vibrator and have a really merry christmas”.

Bobbie and Joanna Eberhart team up with their latest friend Dave, a gay architect. All newcomers to Stepford, the three of them are daunted by the towns perfect homes, mowed lawns and barbie doll wives. They investigate why the men in the town seem to spend most of their time at the Stepford Mens Association and so the story unfolds. They discover that a remote control is the key as to why these women are so ‘perfect’.

Glenn Close is exceptional as Claire Wellington and makes the part her own, with a touch of class. She is incrediblly comical at times. You will enjoy the scene where she teaches the women of Stepford to exercise to music in the kitchen, such as her take-off of the washing machine spin cycle. The feminists would have a field day with this as it is so stereotypical and out of date.

Credit due to Ann Roth for her fantastic colourful costumes, which certainly liven up the screen.

Overall if you are looking for some lighthearted silly humour and a good chick flick then this has got to be on your shortlist. However it isnt funny all the time. If you are expecting the lead characters to shine, think again, the stars who rock are Bette Midler and John Lovitz. Chritsopher Walken also livens up the movie. This cocktail of Academy Award winners and Nominees could go down the pan as being “barbie doll crap”, or it might not, it is entirely up to you!

PRODUCERS

Scott Rudin Donald De Line Edgar J Scherick Gabriel Grunfeld

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS

Ron Bozman Keri Lyn Selig Rob Hahn

SCREENWRITER

Paul Rudnick

COSTUME DESIGNER

Ann Roth

CAST

  • Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman)
  • Walter (Matthew Broderick)
  • Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler
  • Dave (Jon Lovitz), gay architect
  • Roger Bannister (Roger Bart)
  • Claire Wellington (Glenn Close)

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