Frank Oz's Stepford Wives debuts June 11

Phillip

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Frank Oz's latest directorial project The Stepford Wives debuts in theaters accross the country this Friday June 11. After you watch the movie, post here and let us know what you think. Here is a little info on the film along with some quotes from Oz himself...

"Stepford Wives" now a laughing matter
Thu 10 June, 2004 13:08

By Larry Fine

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The battle between the sexes and the search for a suburban Utopia has grown funnier but not smarter in the new film of "The Stepford Wives", starring Nicole Kidman, Bette Midler and Glenn Close that opens in U.S. cinemas on Friday.

Some 30 years ago the first film version of Ira Levin's book was a creepy suspense thriller that travelled a tightrope along ideological lines raised by a vigorous women's liberation movement.

The new comedic slant on wives in a wealthy Connecticut suburb who are turned into robots by their husbands, with Matthew Broderick as Kidman's spouse, lacks the tension of the original but has a shocking ending of its very own.

"This is not a remake. This is from a whole different angle," said director Frank Oz, who got his big start in entertainment as a collaborator of Muppets maestro Jim Henson and who supplied the voice for puppets including Miss Piggy and Cookie Monster.

"This is a satiric, and at the same time (a) dark and emotional take on it," he told reporters as part of the publicity push for the movie.

Oz's update on gender conflict is pretty to look at, with Kidman and other Stepford lovelies like singer Faith Hill gliding over exquisitely landscaped lawns, and it delivers loads of camp laughs thanks to the wisecracking Midler.

WELL-ORDERED SOCIETY

Kidman plays Joanna Eberhart, a powerful TV network president who pushes the envelope in cutting-edge reality programming catering to women before one catastrophic day turns her life upside down and sends her to a nervous breakdown.

The next step is a move out of New York City to the quaint town of Stepford, where Claire Wellington (Close) and her sleazy husband Mike, played by Christopher Walken, impose a well-ordered world on their neighbours.

The paranoia of the 1975 film was higher as sinister husbands put their emerging wives into their "proper" place, the kitchen, by killing them and then replacing them with robotic look-alikes who are happy homemakers and pliant bedmates. It ushered "Stepford wife" into the U.S. lexicon.

But at the centre of this telling are weak, nerdy husbands cowed by successful wives.

"These are fantasies that men want to have," says Midler. "The kind of woman a certain man wants to have, a trophy wife who keeps her mouth shut. That doesn't really have anything to do with reality. It's just the fantasy."

Yet, whose idea of Utopia is this?

The women are all vacant blondes. Baking cupcakes appears to be the primary source of fun at home.

Broderick said the Stepford depicted in the movie is far from his ideal, but that everybody's notion of 'perfect' is different.

"I was in Pompeii a week ago and we went into the whorehouse (at the Italian ruins) and they had paintings on the doors of what you could experience in each room of the brothel," Broderick told Reuters in illustrating the point.

WEAK AND THREATENED

"This world is created by a Stepford group that are computer programmers, nerd guys, who feel weak and threatened by strong women," Broderick said.

The revisionist Stepford also features a gay couple, a wrinkle that adds laughs through the antics of the "wife", played by Roger Bart.

The screenplay was written by Paul Rudnick ("In & Out" and "Addams Family Values"). Oz's directing credits include "What About Bob?" and "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels".

The film flits across many intriguing talking points, from conformity in society to the search for perfection and the balance of power in relationships, though little light is shed.

"The movie's about the acceptance of imperfect love," Oz said about the Kidman and Broderick roles. "The heart of it is about this couple trying to work things out, and I think we can all relate to that."

Yet there are no clues about their marital woes, undercutting a confrontation they have later about their deteriorating relationship.

A turning point involving the robot technology at Stepford is reduced to silly slapstick since no explanation of the process is given.

"What we decided was that hopefully the audience was just gonna kind of take it and if we got into more and more detail we would open up a can of worms," Oz said.

As Broderick summed up the approach: "It doesn't come out so well if you think about it too much."

http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=entertainmentNews&storyID=526996&section=news
 

Fozzie Bear

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I heard on 3 different radio stations that the film is going to bomb; but I'm interested in seeing it for myself.

I heard that the film was hard for everyone to work on, and that Frank even left the set a couple of times because he just couldn't deal...but that, too, was from the radio stations.
 

beaker

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Has Oz done a good movie since What About Bob?
 

Fozzie Bear

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Little Shop of...uh...

nevermind. You said "after..."
 

Rowlf's Roadie

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I wanna see it since Frank's such a great director. He'll know what a Stepford Wife is like after Piggy's newscast in Muppets From Space. Lol.
 

jediX

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beaker said:
Has Oz done a good movie since What About Bob?
I don't know when that one was made, but I particularly enjoy Bowfinger.
 

lowercasegods

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Oz is like many talented directors: he's had his hits and he's had his misses. Little Shop is without a doubt his best post-Muppets film (or just his best film in general). What About Bob, In and Out and Bowfinger are also some great examples of his talent. The Indian in the Cupboard was a little bland and Houseguest was a bit lacking as well. But if you count his work as co-director on Dark Crystal and director on Muppets Take Manhattan, I think it could be argued that his successes far outweigh his not-so successes. Also, the word in comic book circles is that Oz will be directing a movie based on the Image comic book, "Powers." Bottom line, we all need to give him a chance with Stepford Wives, regardless of any negative pre-premiere word of mouth.
 

zoinkks1

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Love Frank's films

I'm sorry, but I think every film that Frank has directed has been great. I of course thoroughly enjoyed Muppets Take Manhattan, Little Shop of Horrors, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and What about bob. But I've also enjoyed Bowfinger, Housesitter, In and Out, and the Score. Probably his weakest film was Indian in the Cupboard, but I still was entertained.

Notice how many times he's collaborated with Steve Martin. Frank's directed him in four films. Maybe Steve (and Bill Murray) is the secret of his directorial success.
 

ColonelErnie

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What about...

Did everyone forget that Frank also directed The Score? That was a good movie, even if he did have to direct 1/2 of it through an earpiece in Robert DeNiro's ear, cuz Brando wouldn't keep his pants on...
 
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