In the case of Buzz v. Stepford, yes, the movie is a little messy. But that’s forgivable, since it has a wonderfully wounding malice directed at both the Stepford, Conn., contingent of Energizer Bunny wives and the New Yorkers who have just moved in. Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman), a just-fired network boss, wears black to the town’s July 4 picnic. “Only high-powered castrating Manhattan bitches wear black,” she is told. “Is that what you wanted to be?” Her demure reply: “Ever since I was a little girl.”
Credit the bitchy wit to screenwriter Paul Rudnick, the knowing tone to director Frank Oz and the cluttered ending to the focus groups. The snazzy cast — including Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler and, as the makeover masterminds who have “top-secret contracts with the Pentagon, Apple and Mattel,” Glenn Close and Christopher Walken — really sinks its fangs into Rudnick’s poisoned apple.
By the time you read this, The Stepford Wives may have been deemed a box-office failure. But that shouldn’t matter to people who want a film full of smart laughs. Maybe big giggles can drown out bad buzz.