The Stepford Wives (2004) made the mistake of taking a genuinely creepy concept and making it a comedy. Although I use the term comedy loosely, because it’s not at all funny. Despite being released in 2004 with an all star cast including Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, and Bette Midler, I still never heard of The Stepford Wives. Discovering it was a campy version of a horror movie sounded like a bad idea. Rather than a struggling photographer, Joanna Eberhart is an already successful cold hearted business woman.
Until she’s fired and her family relocates to Stepford. The camp comes from the far more exaggerated 50’s era housewives and there way more obvious robotic tendencies. Joanna’s only normal friend Bobbie is more homely and they also make the confusing decision to add a gay couple. Plus there’s a robot dog for some reason. The shorter runtime makes it feel like Joanna’s madness and subsequent Stepfordization is rushed. Granted the original had slow spots, but at least the payoff was good.
The comedic tone means a forced happy ending. Since the wives aren’t even full robots, they can be easily turned back. Then another convoluted twist is added to make it seem like neither the men, nor the women were right or wrong. Like they were too afraid to make anyone look bad. Apparently that same sentiment can’t be said for the behind the scenes. Since none of the cast seemed to get along with director Frank Oz. The Stepford Wives (2004) could’ve been a refined thriller with improved technical advancements. Instead it became a joke.
Remake of: The Stepford Wives (1975)