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The Stepford Wives (2004)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi | 11 June 2004 (USA)
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The secret to a Stepford wife lies behind the doors of the Men's Association of how women become different and immobilized robots.

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(book), (screenplay)
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Political intrigue and deception unfold inside the United Nations, where a U.S. Secret Service agent is assigned to investigate an interpreter who overhears an assassination plot.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Joanna Eberhart
... Walter Kresby
... Bobbie Markowitz
... Claire Wellington
... Mike Wellington
... Roger Bannister
... Jerry Harmon
... Dave Markowitz
... Pete Kresby
... Kimberly Kresby
... Sarah Sunderson
... Herb Sunderson
... Beth Peters
... Stan Peters
... Charmaine Van Sant
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Storyline

Joanna Eberhart, a wildly successful president of a TV Network, after a series of shocking events, suffers a nervous breakdown and is moved by her milquetoast of a husband, Walter, from Manhattan to the chic, upper-class, and very modern planned community of Stepford, Connecticut. Once there, she makes good friends with the acerbic Bobbie Markowitz, a Jewish writer who's also a recovering alcoholic. Together they find out, much to their growing stupor and-then horror, that all the housewives in town are strangely blissful and, somehow... doomed. What is going on behind the closed doors of the Stepford Men's Association and the Stepford Day Spa? Why is everything perfect here? Will it be too late for Joanna and Bobbie when they finally find out? Written by Miguel Cane <stepford@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, thematic material and language | See all certifications »

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Details

Official Sites:

Paramount Pictures | UIP [Brazil] |  »

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Release Date:

11 June 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Las mujeres perfectas  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$90,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,406,781, 13 June 2004, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$59,484,742

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$102,001,626
See more on IMDbPro »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Bobbie, Joanna, and Roger are in Bobbie's house, the show on the television is Cartoon Network's Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law (2000). See more »

Goofs

During/after the "If...one of your neighbors got sick, what would you do?" line, Roger sits back and crosses his arms twice. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Helen Devlin: Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to introduce a legend in our industry. She's the most successful president in the history of our network and for the past five years has kept us at the very top of the ratings.
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Crazy Credits

In the credits, Corning is credited with "cutlured stone" rather than "cultured stone". See more »

Connections

Featured in The Stepford Husbands (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Here Comes Santa Claus (Right Down Santa Claus Lane)
(1947)
Music and lyrics by Gene Autry and Oakley Haldeman
Produced by Stewart Lerman
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User Reviews

 
Too lightweight for its subject matter
16 November 2005 | by See all my reviews

The original film, and the great novel that preceded it are worthy of a better treatment than this lighthearted, anti-suspenseful, Hollywood variety show. What's more, the excellent veteran cast, the catchy soundtrack and the expensive production values could have made this into the socially serious, poignant and yet funny contemporary masterwork it should have been. Instead, we are left with a film whose campiest moments are clichés and whose point seems to be love conquers all - even the sexism, genderism and masculocentrism still rampant in American Society today! I never expect comedies to do a particularly good job with continuity and logic, but some of the continuity problems in this film are really pretty amazing. Plot twists are, after all, supposed to change the COURSE of the plot, not its basic premises. I'm dying to tell you about it, but I won't write a spoiler.

Here are the basics: Nicole Kidman and Matthew Broderick are a successful couple whose marriage has been suffering a bit because of the stress of their work-lives. Nicole, a TV executive famous for post-feminist male-bashing shows gets fired for no particular reason and they couple decides to move away to Stepford, an exclusive community populated by people who seem to have no particular troubles of any kind, or even jobs for that matter. Some of the first things Matthew Broderick realizes about Stepford is that all of the women are beautiful, and everybody is marvelously happy with a few possible exceptions - his own wife, Bette Midler and a gay liberal whose partner has been sucked into republicanism. Predictably, these three conspire to resist the happiness all around them and investigate the mystery of the Stepford men's club.

I've described the first quarter of the film. Although the central plot is interesting and strong, the lack of even a shred of seriousness detracts very heavily from it - even from a comedic point of view. If this film hadn't made me disinterested, the feminist in me would have simply been angry over the missed opportunity this film represents. Moreover, it is possible to see this film as a justification of the 'blame the victim' mentality so often prevalent in contemporary culture.

Most of the cast seems equally unengaged. They sometimes seem to be playing roles in different films - interacting with each other poorly and playing their roles with no particular goal in mind. I can only fault the director here. Broderick and Kidman are, as usual, very watchable, but even Nicole seems to be unsure what her character is supposed to be portraying at times. Bette Midler is fine, as are Walken and Glenn Close. Close was actually, IMO, the show stealer - making the film tolerable with her excruciatingly irritating and very dominant presence.

While not a complete travesty, I can not recommend The Stepford Wives.


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