The Stepford Wives (3/10)
2004 by Tony Medley
winners Nicole Kidman and Christopher Walken, Tony Award winners Matthew
Broderick, Roger Bart, and Glenn Close, Grammy winners Bette Midler and
Faith Hill; who could ask for a better cast? Certainly not Director
Frank Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick. But what did they do with it?
They took an almost 30 year old film, 1975ís The Stepford Wives,
converted it into something thatís not funny enough to be a comedy,
not scary enough to be a thriller, and not biting enough to be a satire.
The result is a tired, uninvolving bore.
(Kidman) is fired from her job as president of a TV network and goes
into a funk. Her husband Walter (Broderick) quits his job as a V.P. in
protest and they move to Stepford, Connecticut where all the women are
pleasant and all the men are satisfied. Clearly, somethingís wrong.
Whatís wrong is
that the script stinks. Bart is a token gay who is in the film for no
discernable reason. Heís not funny; he has no purpose except to be gay
(his character was not in Ira Levinís book or the 1975 movie).
Midlerís character is equally puzzling. Sheís supposed to be a free
thinker who gets stuck in the Stepford way, but, like Bart, sheís not
funny or anything else.
Trying to figure out
what this movie is trying to say is a paradox. Maybe itís a leftwing
attack on loving wives. Maybe itís a biting satire on the difference
between people who live in New York and people who live in Connecticut.
Maybe, oh, who cares? Whatever they were trying to say, they did it in a
clumsy and boring manner.
The only person who
distinguishes herself is Kidman, who takes this weak material and makes
the best of it. Broderick looks like heís lost, like heís constantly
asking himself, ďWhat am I doing here?Ē
Thatís the same
question I was asking myself.
June 12, 2004