The Stepford Wives

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
The Stepford Wives Movie Poster Image
Comedic remake of '70s horror movie has sex humor.
  • PG-13
  • 2004
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Individuality and freedom of choice are implicitly championed in The Stepford Wives, but these values are never stated or underlined.

Violence

The plot involves husbands implanting chips into the heads of their spouses, a notion played for comedy rather than horror (and all the victims recover). There are some grisly shots of a realistic-looking severed robot head. Guns are brandished and sometimes fired.

Sex

There are references to adultery and prostitution, and a long scene in which a husband and wife are heard very loudly making love. Also, a reference to using a pine cone as a vibrator, a joke that compares a penis to a banana, and so on.

Language

Profanity is infrequent, but a man in a gay couple says he's not "a sissy," while someone else praises him for not being "flamboyant." One woman calls herself a "big Jew."

Consumerism

Many brands are mentioned: Rolex, Versace, Gucci. Nicole Kidman's character prominently uses a Macintosh laptop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Characters smoke cigars and drink beer. There are references to Viagra, Xanax, and Zoloft.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Stepford Wives is a remake of a '70s horror film that goes for comedy rather than scares, yet still has some material within that may traumatize younger viewers. Chief among them is a grisly scene in which a main character is revealed to be a robot and his head detaches from his body while his wife cradles and kisses the head. There are also many menacing situations involving moms, including a scene where a main character is shot at, and one where she confronts a robotic replica of herself. A gay man in the movie asserts he's not a "sissy" or "effeminate," and one painfully lengthy scene listens in on a husband and wife having very noisy sex, capped with a long climactic scream. Many characters drink and smoke and there are references to prescription drug abuse. Luxury brands from Gucci to Rolex are mentioned approvingly, and Nicole Kidman's character prominently uses a Macintosh computer.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008

Slightly funny

A few laughs- not a lot, though. In its defense, some of my friends really loved it, although I can't figure out WHY! There is diversity in the cast- a whi... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byChristopherGraham October 9, 2014

"The Stepford Wives" by Christopher Graham

This is a moderate movie with a couple of surprises of its own. The only thing I liked about this movie is that the script is rich with zingers which brings a l... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bydavispittman January 19, 2017

Funny comical version of 1970's horror

Parents need to know that the 2004 version of The Stepford Wives is hilarious and very entertaining. The actors really give it their all, Kidman, Midler, and c... Continue reading

What's the story?

THE STEPFORD WIVES centers on Joanna (Nicole Kidman), who moves with her husband Walter (Matthew Broderick) into to the idyllic gated community of Stepford, Connecticut, where everything seems just a little bit too perfect. The women are all Barbie-doll-like and wait on their husbands with adoring smiles. Presiding over them all is Claire (Glenn Close). Joanna's only confidantes are two other new arrivals, outspoken author Bobbi (Bette Midler) and caustic gay man Roger (Roger Bart). Joanna is appalled, but wonders if she's missing something. All of the Stepford husbands seem very happy, while Walter is ready to leave her. So she gets to work, making zillions of cupcakes and checking up on one of her neighbors who had a seizure at a recent party. Joanna thought she saw sparks coming from the neighbor's ears, but Roger reassures her that it was just cheap jewelry. When Bobbi and Roger are completely transformed, she decides to find out what is going on in the mysterious Stepford men's club.

Is it any good?

Less a movie than a string of jokes, this comedy remake of the 1975 thriller loses some momentum in the middle when it seems unsure of its point of view. When Joanna suddenly seems to remember that she has children and she cares about them, it is not clear whether this is just another comic contrivance or an attempt to create some sort of character growth.

A surprising twist at the end helps to add a little zest. And the idea that a generation later, some women might consider escaping their "over-stressed/over-burdened/under-loved" lives to return to a simpler world of domestic perfection is an idea that deserves some exploration. Maybe by the next time they remake this story, the Stepford wife will be the one who has figured out how to make it all balance.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why a thriller plot from 29 years ago makes more sense as a comedy today. How are both versions inspired by the conflicting pressures on both men and women? What do you think about what the movie has to say about defining success and happiness? About perfection not really working?

  • Who is the target audience for this movie? How can you tell?

Movie details

For kids who love movies with bite

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