The Stepford Wives

Bomb Rating: 

SPOILER ALERT!! Why? Because I have to.

In the original version of "The Stepford Wives," Katherine ("Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid") Ross moves to Stepford with her husband and kids and discovers that the women of Stepford are really weird. They're way too nice and deferential toward their husbands. They're not normal. In the end, she discovers that these women are actually robots, designed by their husbands to be supposedly perfect women.

In the new version of "The Stepford Wives," Nicole Kidman moves to Stepford with her husband, played by Matthew Broderick. In the end, they discover that the women of Stepford are so weird because Mike Wellington (Christopher Walken) and his wife, Claire (Glenn Close), have put microchips in their heads. Consequently, when these chips are destroyed, the women are returned to normal.

This would make sense, except for one thing: There's a scene earlier in the film where the men of Stepford are trying to convince Walter (Broderick) that he should join them in their quest to create perfect women. One of the guys gives his wife a credit card, she puts it in her mouth, and then spits out twenty dollars. Now, this would be funny if she were a robot, but she's not. She's just some chick with four microchips implanted in her brain.

Can you say rewrite? Can you say rewrite about a couple dozen times? I really haven't seen a movie in recent memory that so carelessly reveals that not only was it obviously rewritten, but that the director and the writers didn't give a crap about an absolutely massive error right in the middle of the picture. I mean, how dumb do you have to be to miss something like that? Clearly, they had one ending, and then it got changed. The only possible conclusion here is that the filmmakers are so massively stupid that the problem just never occurred to them.

Beyond pure stupidity, the other problem with the film is that Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) is impossible to like. Frankly, moving to Stepford and becoming a robot is an improvement for her. She begins the film as a television executive who creates disgusting, tasteless shows. She walks like she's got a pole up her ass that her torso swivels on. She's clueless, annoying, and cruel.

The first movie had a certain eeriness to it that at least tried to hook the viewer. Director Frank ("Miss Piggy") Oz kind of beats you over the head with the fact that he's trying to be both funny and entirely unrealistic. I can't exactly describe the sense of humor here, but it's kind of like watching an aging comedian fall down a flight of stairs. You don't know whether to laugh because the comedian is trying to make you laugh or go help him because he's completely uncoordinated and just fell down a flight of stairs and might be hurt.

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