7/11/17

THE STEPFORD WIVES - REVIEW


A remake of the 1975 satirical sci-fi thriller, Frank Oz's The Stepford Wives was released in 2004 and it was a more light-hearted, comedic take on the story.

Nicole Kidman is Joanna Eberhart, a reality TV producer we first meet as she announces the exploitative new shows she's currently working on. She soon gets fired, however, after one of the people whose life was ruined by one of her shows comes back and threatens her life in front of everybody. Looking for a fresh start following a nervous breakdown, she, her husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) and their kids move to a suburb in Connecticut. They are greeted by an overly friendly and smiley Glenn Close who introduces them to the Stepford community that seems to function not unlike 1950's suburbia with the husbands doing whatever they want and the wives catering to their husbands' needs with bright-coloured dresses and a big smile on their face. Joanna tries to fit in at first but, soon enough, she starts to notice some strange goings on like one of the wives short-circuiting like a robot as no-one reacts appropriately.

A year before starring in the inexplicably meta Bewitched, Nicole Kidman said yes to this inexplicably campy remake of what was, in fact, a pretty serious and creepy movie. But while Frank Oz's decision to lighten up this story may not have been the best idea, he at least does a good job at making the film enjoyably silly throughout. With a fun supporting cast that includes Christopher Walken, Bette Midler, Jon Lovitz and Roger Bart, this Stepford Wives is not creepy in any way but it does provide some laughs regularly enough and, as a cartoonish satire, it works fine. Unfortunately, by the time the third act kicks in, the movie's pretty much given up entirely on telling a cohesive story and Oz ends things on a perplexing note, leaving you to wonder what the point of any of it was. It's obvious that this story just works better when played straight, its slight Westworld-style edge integral to the satire having any sort of impact. This could have been a memorable comedy, however, had a valid argument been made for its goofy existence.

This modern take on The Stepford Wives has a great cast, many funny ideas and lots of charm but no real purpose. The clunky third act confirming the fact that there really was no need to make this movie, especially not in that particular way.

Amusing yet forgettable.

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