The Stepford Wives
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler, Glenn Close, Matthew Broderick
By Brent Ko
Photo: Thank you Chaz!
Way back in 1975 a little film called The Stepford Wives came and went from movie theaters with little fanfare, and what notice it did get was mostly bad. But, over the years, Wives, with its premise of a group of housewives so intent on being perfect homemakers they become robots, has became a cult classic of sorts.
Just as reviewers back in ’75 didn’t get it, the new version, (Oz refuses to call it a remake) has also gone over the heads of most reviewers.
“Misogynistic” screams one, “tasteless” says another. Well, it’s satire folks. It isn’t supposed to be high drama. While the original stuck an early blow for women’s lib, the 2004 version plays it simply for laughs.
This isn’t a perfect film by a long shot. But, it has a stellar cast and some great writing, although too often we know what’s coming before it does.
Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidnman) is a cutthroat TV exec but when a disgruntled star tries to bump her off hubby Walter Kresby (Matthew Broderick) whisks here and the kids out of New York and off to bucolic Connecticut where they settle at the Stepford Estates.
It doesn’t take long to figure out every woman in the neighborhood wants to be Martha Stewart to the extreme.
Bette Midler is superb as Joanna’s first friend in Stepford. Midler goes for the laugh jugular vein and steals the show. Close is perhaps a bit too intense, but the three grande dammes are in general wonderful, despite all the rumors of disagreements and open feuds on the set.
And, just to keep everything in this version current we even have a gay couple: Roger and Jerry. Roger Bart, who plays Roger Bannister is deliciously funny. It helped that Wives was scripted by openly gay screenwriter Paul Rudnick.
Bart was cast after producer Scott Rudin caught his Tony-nominated performance on Broadway in The Producers as the outrageously Carmen Ghia, a role he will reprise for the film version of the Mel Brooks musical.
So, don’t go to the theater expecting a remake of the original Stepford Wives, but go.
The Stepford Wives opens Friday, June 11. Visit www.StepfordWives.com for:
– Stepfordized Recipes: Immaculate and delicious recipes of your favorite desserts, with a touch of “stepfordization”!
– Claire’s Craftorium: Get a head start on your Christmas Wreath with Claire!
– Fitness Tips: A extremely helpful guide to workout while you do your chores!
– Beauty Secrets: Some very “stepford,” but useful summer tips from Bobbie Markowitz.