The Stepford Wives

Rated 3.0 A New York couple (played by Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick) moves to a suburban town where all the women are meekly subservient to their husbands. From Ira Levin’s 1972 novel, director Frank Oz and writer Paul Rudnick produce not an adaptation but a parody. They figure everyone knows the twist ending (you do, right?), so they blow it early (in the preview trailer, in fact) and then add a lame, protracted twist of their own that smacks of having their cake and eating it, too. Rudnick and Oz swap Levin’s spooky allegory of oppressive conformity for a drag-queen fantasy of perfect femininity (they even throw in a gay couple to make sure we get the subtext). It makes for a one-joke movie, but the joke is pretty funny—for a while. As local boosters, Christopher Walken and Glenn Close do their usual sinister best.