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Nicole KidmanThe Stepford Wives

Starring: Nicole Kidman, Glenn Close, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken and Jon Lovitz
Directed by: Frank Oz

 

 

Bluntly Speaking? Stepford Wives is a superb soufflé of smiles and a succulent serving of summer-style suburban spoof.

Story goes... superwoman, Joann Eberhart (Nicole Kidman) runs a shock-schlock savvy super-network. When one of her reality shows ruins a participant's life, reality points aim at her - literally.

The network sees her as a liability now and she must be let go, canned, eighty-six'd…(<-visual prompt: mentally insert an image of a smarmy Donald Trump hairdo'd sort here for effect) she's fired.

She promptly falls to pieces, complete with the necessity for electroshock therapy…

Her husband decides the whole family needs to relocate out of New York City - start fresh. He finds a perfect respite from the wilds of television in a private development/town called Stepford, Connecticut.

Almost immediately after the doilies are set, Joanna notices the wives of Stepford are all a tad (read: to the tenth power of odd) different. They seem to have all walked out of some mock National Geographic documentary on the prehistoric middle-American housewife circa 1950 as shown to Martian visitors somewhere deep in a New Mexican desert hanger. They are all Barbie-esque mini-waisted bimbos, donned head to toe in form fitting chiffon accented with coordinated high heels and bouffant hair. And as if their generic images were not spooky enough, she notices they all simply can't seem to do enough for their less-than-study male folk, taking "yes dear" to a completely new level.

Meanwhile her mousy husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) fits right in. He frolics at Stepford private men's club and indulges in all the childish rituals…

Joanna does find a bit of normalcy amid the robots of repressed emotions in the form of kindred cynical New Yorker souls. Her allies are a whirlwind wordsmith Ms. Bobbie Markowitz (Bette Midler) and the flamboyant man-lovin' Roger Bannister (Roger Bart). They too have been dragged, err, relocated to this creepy little haven of horrors by their significant udders and agree the suburban strudel is a few walnuts short of being a rich dessert…

When Joanna's tiny gaggle of gawking anti-homemaking cohorts, Bobbie and Roger, suddenly end up dressed in Republican tweeds and enjoy the art of vacuuming picture frames - like the other ever-clean sparkling soul-sucked residents they once ridiculed over swell martinis at brunch - she decides to confront the whole nefarious brood of uber nerdy men walled up in their "Ralph Lauren meets Clue" -style club house once and for all.

Okay, Stepford's stoo-pid. Never pick at the tale's finely woven threads or the whole silly ensemble will fluffle to the floor. But the film, rather movie, is played as spoof from frame one and the worldly cast is a genuine hoot. Though, I am really perplexed as to who approved the on-screen wrong em boyo coupling of the stealthy ever-stunning Nicole Kidman with the slothy stocky (short), Matthew Broderick…our viewing party watched - without catching - for the apple crates they just had to have used to "level" the two out. Hehehehehe.

Glenn Close shows as Stepford's quintessential Queen Bee,Claire Wellington. Mrs. Wellington oozes that inner-anger and wildly psychotic demeanor Glenn got the U.S. Patent on back in her "bunny boiling" days - the scene that went down in cinematic infamy. Christopher Walken, Mr. Mike Wellington, "Walken's" up the screen and sports a firm Heat Meiser updo - his work in Envy is funnier.

The divine Bette Middler's acid-reflux spewed comments are, as always, a devilish delight. Nicole Kidman runs the show. A real movie star that can twinkle her little nose and orchestrate a whole sonnet. Roger Bart is very funny he does good gay guy...but be warned it's the token, stereotype of a gay out of water - the whole 'Queer Eye' style of the breed.

Director Frank Oz has created a loving parody of the original, genuinely frightening, film of the same name. He proposes the question: Where else but in Connecticut could a mad scientist create robot wives whose only mission in life is to pleasure their spoiled nerdy husbands? Hilarious. The production design orchestrated by Jackson Degovia and his talented art crew nailed the film otherworldly within our world feel. Enjoy.

Snack recommendation: The Stepford Breakfast Special: Two Paxils over easy and fresh squeezed Viagra juice


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