The Stepford Wives

 
Comedic remake of '70s horror movie has sex humor.
  • Review Date: November 7, 2004
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2004
  • Running Time: 90 minutes

What parents need to know

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.

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:June 11, 2004
DVD release date:November 9, 2004
Cast:Bette Midler, Matthew Broderick, Nicole Kidman
Director:Frank Oz
Studio:Paramount Pictures
Genre:Comedy
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:sexual content, thematic material and language

This review of The Stepford Wives was written by

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Quality

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written bytommysportsgirl April 9, 2008
age 0+
 

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 white woman, a Jewish woman, and a homosexual man are close friends.
Teen, 17 years old Written byChristopherGraham October 9, 2014
age 13+
 

"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 lot of energy for the movie's atmosphere. The rest of this movie just falls flat with no excitement or kicks to make someone see it again and again. Teens are okay to see this movie, but not little ones.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Written byAnonymous January 26, 2013
age 18+
 

The Stepford Wives is not for kids.

WOW This is another Movie that has an NC-17 Stuck inside a PG-13 Movie.
What other families should know
Too much sex

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