The Stepford Wives Frank Oz

The Stepford Wives Frank Oz
The original Stepford Wives was released at the height of feminism, when a generation of housewives entered the workforce and demanded the same social and economic status as men. In the 1975 film, a young couple moves to a cosy white bread town in the American northeast where the women are obedient, gorgeous, perfect housewives who serve their men with vacant smiles. In fact, the women are robots created by their husbands who murdered their real wives. Adapted from the novel, the film is a strange mixture of camp, satire, sci-fi and horror that never really finds its voice. Frank Oz's recent remake tries to reflect the battle of the sexes nearly 30 years later but falls into the same trap. Nicole Kidman plays Joanna Eberhart, a high-powered TV executive who loses her job and falls into depression. Hubby Walter (Matthew Broderick) moves to small-town Stepford to renew their marriage. Joanna meets the shiny, happy housewives (like those played by Faith Hill and Glenn Close) and soon learns that the men run everything in this town, especially their women. Oz and screenwriter Paul Rudnick go for laughs but fail to earn any. What's left is a pointless muddle of a movie that fails to make any thoughtful statements about men and women. Perhaps a director like Tim Burton could have fashioned an acidly satirical remake, but Oz shoots for the middle-of-the-road with glossy cinematography, big Hollywood stars and pastel-perfect sets. The disc is loaded with extras: Oz's commentary, a standard "behind the scenes" featurette, a few outtakes (nothing special), a gag reel and various interviews with the cast and key crew. The special features are generous but sadly wasted on a meagre film. To add insult to injury, the viewer must scan through four trailers of other movies before reaching the menu. (Paramount)