The Stepford Wives

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The Stepford Wives
Review (6.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In The Stepford Wives, Nicole Kidman stars as Joanna Eberhart, a successful television executive whose life turns upside down when something goes awry with one of the reality-based TV shows she produces and she is consequently fired from her high profile job. She and her and husband Walter Kresby (Matthew Broderick) pack up the family and move to the upper-class gated community of Stepford, Connecticut to rebuild their lives. It is not long before Joanna realizes that Stepford is not your everyday upper-class gated community. The women of Stepford act like robots, concerned only with cooking, cleaning and the sexual well being of their husbands. The husbands spend an obscene amount of time at a secret men's club. Joanna and her two new best friends, author Bobbi Markowitz (Bette Midler) and gay architect Roger Bannister (Roger Bart), set out to investigate their less than normal surroundings and in the process have put their own somewhat normal live in jeopardy. The Stepford Wives also stars the likes of Glenn Close as Claire Wellington, the leader of the Stepford ladies, Christopher Walken as her mysterious husband Mike, Jon Lovitz as Bobbi's bumbling husband Dave and in her big-screen debut, Faith Hill as the malfunctioning Stepford wife, Sarah.

The Stepford Wives is a movie that I probably would not recommend running out to the theatre tomorrow to see but it would at least be a decent rental or a movie that you might enjoy if you have to take your wife, girlfriend or if you are homosexual, your life partner, out for the night. To tell you the truth, I really found it to be an okay movie with many laughs. The female leads in the movie, particularly Glenn Close, Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Roger Bart (I assume he was the female of the relationship in which he was involved) are all excellent. I wasn't really impressed with Walken, Broderick and Lovitz. Maybe they were just underused in the movie but none of the three male leads really stood out or were memorable. In fact, the entire movie is not very memorable but I did find that, for the hour and a half that I was in the theatre, I was tolerably entertained. The movie even has a bit of a surprise ending that certainly caught me off guard and I liked that (although the explanation for such an ending was sketchy, to say the least).

If you take the movie for what it should be, a couple of hours to head out to the theatre and have a few good laughs, you might find The Stepford Wives mildly entertaining. If you are looking for dark comedy, brilliant satire, social comments on the feminist movement and Academy Award-caliber performances, well, you best better stay home and save your money because you ain't getting that from this movie. Even if it is trying to be as such, it fails miserably. But despite the movie's shortcomings, and there are many, I still enjoyed The Stepford Wives. I never saw the original movie, never read the critically-acclaimed book and didn't search for the meaning of life while I was watching and for that reason, I liked what I saw. It's probably not a good movie for deep thinkers, but since that is not me, I will recommend The Stepford Wives.

Ironically, as I type this review, Matthew Broderick is a guest on David Letterman and during the entire interview, he did not once mention the movie until the end of the interview when Letterman was signing off and said "Oh yeah, The Stepford Wives opens tomorrow" and Broderick said, "Oh yeah, The Stepford Wives." I guess, in a way, that sort of shows what you might expect.

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