Broad comic remake of feminist chiller
OPENED JULY 30, CERT 12A, 93 MINS
Something funny is going on in Stepford. Well, mildly amusing anyway. Nearly three decades after Katharine Ross began to suspect that Nanette Newman was too good to be true, Nicole Kidman repairs to the gated Connecticut community with hubbie Matthew Broderick. Nicole thinks her new neighbours are bake’n’fake airheads. Matty doesn’t mind a bit.
Ira Levin’s novel mashed up Rosemary’s Baby paranoia with Women’s Lib nightmare, and inspired a very straight Bryan Forbes movie. The remake positions itself as ‘post-feminist ironic’, playing for broad laughs and never believable.
Scripted by Paul Rudnick, this version does have witty moments, almost all of them in the first half-hour, establishing Nicole’s credentials as castrating TV exec. Bette Midler, Glenn Close and Christopher Walken offer enthusiastic, if unsubtle, support. But it’s dismaying how the movie falls apart in the second half as director Frank Oz tries to patch the gaping plot holes. And a cynic might add they could have cast a less mechanical actress then Kidman…