The Stepford Wives

Buzz of troubles on the set of this satire about men who turn their wives into fembots can't compare to the mess onscreen. The 1975 film version of Ira Levin's novel caught the shock and awe of nascent feminism. It was funny and scary. The new version, directed by Frank Oz (In and Out), is terror— and clever-free. Paul Rudnick's script, a series of campy one-liners, overwhelms a plot about a husband (Matthew Broderick) who moves his TV-exec wife (Nicole Kidman) to Stepford, Connecticut, where wives are transformed from "castrating career bitches" into sex kittens, under the tutelage of Christopher Walken and his deranged spouse (Glenn Close). Close gets laughs, as does Bette Midler as a Jewish rebel. But the sting is gone.

From The Archives Issue 329: October 30, 1980