The Stepford Wives
The wives of Stepford have a secret.
Directed by: Frank Oz
Written by: Ira Levin (book); Paul Rudnick (screenplay)
Primary Genres: Comedy; Drama; Science Fiction/Fantasy; Horror/Thriller
2004 Cosmique Movie Awards
The wives in the town of Stepford seem perfect. Too perfect. And when recently-fired television executive Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) and her husband, Walter Kresby (Matthew Broderick) move to town, they're about to discover just how fast newcomers can assimilate into the town's perfect life.
I had such high hopes for the 2004 remake of "The Stepford Wives." When I heard that the new screenplay was written by the beloved Paul Rudnick (a playwright who wrote both the stage and screenplay for "Jeffrey," and whose other screen credits include "Addams Family Values" and "In & Out"), I knew immediately that the new release would be played more as a comedy than the original's more sinister thriller mood. Paul Rudnick is one of my favorite comedic writers, and I expected that he'd be able to contemporize the social commentary while making it a wickedly funny satire on the original.
Nicole Kidman received back-to-back Best Actress Cosmo nominations in 2001 and 2002 for "Moulin Rouge" and "The Hours," respectively, but then missed another expected nomination in 2003 for "Cold Mountain" (in fact, Jude Law was the only performer to receive an individual nomination for the much-hyped film). If she makes a comeback in 2004, don't expect it for "The Stepford Wives." The film has some great comedic moments, but it's just not edgy enough and much of the punch is lost too early in the film. The film makes several strange missteps (such as pushing Roger Bart's character forward as the perfect congressional candidate mid-film, for example, when for parallelism he'd really be the candidate's perfect spouse). The resolution is a little too quick, and the explanation for the resolution is cringingly trite. If it was intended as a satire, it fell a little flat.
In the end, I'm not sure where this film will end up on my ballot, if anywhere. Not for Best Script, much as I normally love Paul Rudnick. But it's also probably not one of the worst films of the year, for me. Glenn Close is terrific and could well receive a Best Female Villain vote from me, but if she gets the nomination, it may well be the film's only one.
My Rating: 5
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