Stepford Wives

Stepford Wives

3.4 14
Director: Frank Oz

Cast: Frank Oz, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler


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Ira Levin's best-selling novel about a town where great wives aren't born but made gets a second screen adaptation in this darkly satirical comedy drama. Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) is a successful television executive until one day her career hits the glass ceiling and crashes to the ground. Looking toSee more details below


Ira Levin's best-selling novel about a town where great wives aren't born but made gets a second screen adaptation in this darkly satirical comedy drama. Joanna Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) is a successful television executive until one day her career hits the glass ceiling and crashes to the ground. Looking to take some time off to start over, Joanna and her husband, Walter Kresby (Matthew Broderick), pull up stakes and move to the peaceful suburban community of Stepford. Walter takes to his new environment with real enthusiasm and joins the local men's organization, headed by one Mike Wellington. Joanna, on the other hand, finds that Stepford is just a bit too quiet and well-groomed for her taste, and is taken aback by the aggressively cheerful and servile attitude of Mike's wife, Claire (Glenn Close), and the other women of the community. A notable exception is Bobbi Markowitz (Bette Midler), a happily misanthropic writer who revels in her lack of enthusiasm for housework or exercise. Joanna and Bobbi become fast friends, but as they look closer at the all-too-perfect surfaces of Stepford and its female inhabitants, they slowly discover a terrible secret lurking beneath. Also featuring Faith Hill, Jon Lovitz, and Roger Bart, The Stepford Wives was previously adapted for the screen in 1975, with Katherine Ross in the lead; that version spawned three made-for-TV sequels.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Here's proof positive that you shouldn't believe everything you hear or read. The pre-release "buzz" on Stepford Wives was uniformly bad, convincing prospective viewers that Frank Oz's remake of the 1975 thriller based on Ira Levin's bestselling novel would be virtually unwatchable. That's not the case, however. Although we'd be hard pressed to call the new version a classic, it has many great moments and several terrific performances. Nicole Kidman portrays Joanna Eberhart, a hard-charging, stressed-out TV executive fired from her network after being targeted for assassination by a disgruntled reality-show contestant. She moves with her pleasant but ineffectual husband, Walter (Matthew Broderick), and their kids to the upscale suburban community of Stepford, where remarkably contented husbands lounge in a lavishly appointed clubhouse while their attractive, servile spouses attend to their every need. Kidman's character finds this a little strange, as does her new friend Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler), the village's only other refugee from Manhattan. When they begin to suspect something sinister in the overly efficient machinations of Stepford's "power couple," Mike and Claire Wellington (Christopher Walken and Glenn Close), they launch an investigation -- unbeknownst to their hubbies. At this point, anyone who has seen the original might think they know where the remake is headed -- but they would be wrong. Frank Oz's Stepford Wives takes liberties with both Levin's novel and the earlier film version, coming up with a hybrid that may be somewhat inconsistent but is far from the disaster this movie's detractors claimed it to be. Kidman is decidedly quirky as an unknowingly domineering wife, although her finely tuned performance is eclipsed by the more colorful portrayal of Midler, whose blowsy, tart-tongued scribe gets most of the laughs. Walken plays another of his mannered eccentrics, and Close scores big with her turn as a tightly wrapped matron. The film misses opportunities here and there, and some tampering is clearly evident (reportedly, several key scenes, including the climax, were reshot), but in general The Stepford Wives is a lot better than you may have heard.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Whoever came up with the idea to remake The Stepford Wives as a satirical comedy had a superb moment of inspiration. Paul Rudnick fills his script with the kind of catty one-liners that he is best known for, and figures out how to put new spins on the old premise. The casting in the film is right on the money. Glenn Close embodies the spirit of Stepford with a regal insistence. Matthew Broderick consistently manages to find all three dimensions in a character that seems underwritten until the final act. Just as she did in To Die For, Nicole Kidman shows that she has a gift for a particular type of cold-hearted comedy. Roger Bart, as a very flamboyant gay man who has been brought to Stepford by his straight-laced Republican life partner, perfectly delivers all the bitchy, outrageous lines not already reserved by Bette Midler. The film falls apart when it abandons the comedy in favor of actual suspense. Somewhere in the middle of the film, Kidman is surrounded in her home by the men of Stepford, but the film's tone has been so light and inconsequential it can not muster the slightest bit of terror or suspense. Sadly, an arbitrary third-act twist (no viewer will guess who the real "deus ex machina" is) fails to wrap up the main story in an interesting way -- even as the story line about Kidman and Broderick's marriage comes to a satisfying conclusion. One gets the feeling that Rudnick got it right on the page, but that Frank Oz was unable to get that film on the screen.

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Product Details

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Special Features

Commentary by director Frank Oz; "A Perfect World: The Making of the Stepford Wives"; "Stepford: A Definition"; "Stepford: The Architects"; "The Stepford Wives"; "The Stepford Husbands"; Stepford: deleted/extended scenes; Stepford: gag reel; Teaser trailer; Theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Nicole Kidman Joanna Eberhart
Matthew Broderick Walter Kresby
Bette Midler Bobbi Markowitz
Glenn Close Claire Wellington
Christopher Walken Mike Wellington
Roger Bart Roger Bannister
David Marshall Grant Jerry Harmon
Jon Lovitz David Markowitz
Faith Hill Sarah Sunderson
Lorri Bagley Charmaine Van Sant
Mike White Actor
Matt Malloy Herb Sunderson
Colleen Dunn Marianne Stevens
Tom Riis Farrell Stan Peters
Jason Kravitz Actor
Lisa Masters Carol Wainwright
Kate Shindle Beth Peters
Robert Stanton Ted Van Sant
Christopher Evan Welch Ed Wainwright

Technical Credits
Frank Oz Director
David Arnold Score Composer
Ron Bochar Sound/Sound Designer
Ron Bozman Executive Producer
Laura Civiello Sound Editor
Leslie Converse Co-producer
Mark Cotone Asst. Director
Jackson de Govia Production Designer
Donald De Line Producer
Gabriel Grunfeld Producer
Rob Hahn Cinematographer
Danny Michael Sound/Sound Designer
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Jay Rabinowitz Editor
Nicholas Renbeck Sound Editor
Peter Rogness Art Director
Laura Rosenthal Casting
Ann Roth Costumes/Costume Designer
Scott Rudin Producer
Paul Rudnick Screenwriter
Edgar J. Scherick Producer
Debra Schutt Set Decoration/Design
Keri Selig Executive Producer
Julia Shirar Sound Editor
Juliet Taylor Casting

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Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. A Perfect World
2. The Legendary Joanna Eberhart
3. Bad News
4. Welcome to Stepford
5. New Friends
6. Unusual Behavior
7. Mischievous Buddies
8. Men Behaving Badly
9. Snooping Around
10. New and Improved
11. Happy Homemaker
12. Joanna Confronts the Men
13. Mike's Victory
14. Breaking the Code
15. Claire's Story
16. A Not So Perfect World

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