Sunday, June 13, 2004

The Stepford Wives (IMDB) (Netflix)
A remake of the 1975 drama/thriller that's gotten campier over the years. This time out, director Frank Oz goes straight for the comedy, with Nicole Kidman as hyper-ambitious TV executive of a reality show that goes too far (were that possible), Matthew Broderick as her under-masculated husband and Christoper Walken as the mayor of a town where all the husbands are nerds, wives are blondes in sundresses and gay guys are Republicans. Kidman quickly decides something's terribly wrong here, but Broderick thinks everything is just the way it should be.

After seeing stories of a deeply troubled production and a massive editing effort, my expectations were well-dampened, and worked to the movie's favor. The story was coherent and the humor seemingly intentional, but an odd balance–too broad for satire, underdone for parody. It also tries too hard to be a "message" film about the emasculation of the American male and living with another's imperfections, but it's not—in the words of adolescent sitting behind me—"retarded."