The Stepford Wives

Rated 1.0 The 1975 thriller is remade as a campy comedy, and that is a big mistake. Nicole Kidman stars as a television executive who is fired after her reality programming nets tragic results. After a complete nervous breakdown, she moves with her husband (Matthew Broderick) and kids to the suburb of Stepford, Conn., where all of the wives act like they’ve emerged from ’50s television programs. The only real surprise is that the film is such a whitewashed flatliner. The mystery of the Stepford women isn’t really a mystery at all, and the film’s happy ending makes no sense. Kidman does her best to make things worth it, but the normally reliable director Frank Oz has stranded her in something without a real purpose. The original was a frightening look at the loss of one’s originality, while this misstep is just your typical wannabe satire that pulls punches and relies on Bette Midler for the occasionally amusing comic moment. It’s no surprise that this was a troubled production with on-set fights and multiple reshoots. The finished product is a mess. (CPL, CR, CS, NM)