Mister D: Please take into account it IS Fox News! 🙂 And there is a mention that the cast may appear on Oprah…so that would be cool! Also, this article mentions that the old movie seems to have disappeared…but I find that it is readily available for anyone to buy…
Photo: I put this photo up again…I died when I saw Bette’s T-shirt! Anybody old enough to remember the group, Deep Purple…LOL?
Stepford Wives: ‘Too Dumb for Words’
Friday, May 28, 2004
By Roger Friedman
It’s crunch time for “The Stepford Wives.” The long-plagued, bad buzz movie is set to open two weeks from today, but as yet no one in the industry has screened it. (A Hollywood premiere is set for June 6.) The film’s production company still has offices set up at Kaufman Astoria Studios, where director Frank Oz is still tinkering with the finished product.
At the same time, I am told that today may be the day when all of the post-production work is completed on the troubled project. ‘May’ is the important word there, as no one is sure when or if “The Stepford Wives” will ever end. As of yesterday, the movie was still on the operating table at the Sound One editing facility in Manhattan. Switchboard operators who answer the phone at the various places where work goes on crack wise like Eve Arden when asked about the movie.
There have been test screenings, however, out in New Jersey, far from the tentacles and prying eyes of the entertainment press. Unfortunately, they have not met with positive results. One of my, shall we say, spies, saw “The Stepford Wives” about two weeks ago and had nothing kind to say about it.
This version of the movie, a remake of the 1975 horror classic, has an all-star cast. Paramount Pictures, desperate for a hit, has already started rolling out the actors for press appearances. Nicole Kidman recently appeared on David Letterman. Tonight the whole cast is on “20/20.” I’ve heard they’re supposed to be on “Oprah,” too.
And while the actors are said to be just fine in the updated comedy version, I am told that the screenplay is horrendous and the movie simply falls apart. Kidman, my insider reports, actually get the highest marks for her part as high powered Manhattan TV exec who gets fired when one of her reality shows goes awry. (One of the contestants shoots the others.)
Kidman and her husband (Matthew Broderick) move to suburban Stepford (which novelist Ira Levin originally based on Westport-Darien-New Canaan, Connecticut). That’s where Nicole encounters one couple played by Glenn Close and Christopher Walken, and another played by Bette Midler and Jon Lovitz. Quickly, Nicole and Matthew realize that the women of Stepford are acting too perfect.
But according to my source, the movie takes a bad turn at that point, and never recovers.
“It’s terrible,” says my reporter, who has enough professional credentials to make a good enough judge. “It’s full of clichés, especially ones about Bette Midler and Jon Lovitz being Jewish. They keep calling them ‘you people.’ The plot is so stupid, it’s too dumb for words. The women have beautiful clothes, and Nicole looks great, but the men are very unattractive, like computer geeks instead of WASPs or preppies. We spent a lot of time looking at what the women were wearing.”
While Midler and Lovitz are used for comic relief, Broderick and Kidman are the sympathetic main characters trying to get to the bottom of the Stepford mystery. Walken and Close, apparently, are the evil antagonists in the revamped plot, as screenwriter Paul Rudnick and producer Scott Rudin have chucked the old ending of the Stepford Men’s Club being responsible for the glazed look in the eyes of the town’s women.
Even though the test audiences were told that three endings were filmed, I am not going to tell you about any of them. I will also not reveal the two plot “twists” I was told, involving Close and Walken’s characters, even though these diversions from the original story sound unbelievable and forced. (And good luck finding the first film on video or DVD; it’s suspiciously unavailable.)
What will happen to these Stepford wives and husbands? Producer Rudin is known for working magic, but even he may not be up to the task to save this movie. He’ll be in good company if the film flops, as this has been the year of the turkey, certainly, with “The Alamo,” “The Day After Tomorrow,” “Raising Helen,” “Troy,” “The Ladykillers,” “Van Helsing,” “Connie and Carla,” “Laws of Attraction,” “Jersey Girl,” “The Whole Ten Yards” and “Envy” among the critical or commercial calamities.
In the meantime, the good news is that Mario Van Peebles’ “Baadasssss!” opens today — which you should not miss — and “Elaine Stritch: At Liberty” premieres tomorrow night on HBO. And good movies, like “Kill Bill: Vol. 2,” “Man on Fire,” “Shrek 2,” “Coffee and Cigarettes” and “Super Size Me,” are all out there somewhere.