THE STEPFORD WIVES (2004)

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THE STEPFORD WIVES (2004). Frank Oz, dir. Ira Levin (novel), Paul Rudnick (script). USA: Paramount Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, De Line Pictures, DreamWorks SKG (prod.) / Paramount Pictures (USA dist.), DreamWorks Distribution (worldwide)—see IMDb for complex distribution arrangements—2004. Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Roger Bart, featured players.

Re-make of the 1975 movie, dir. Bryan Forbes, with script by William Goldman. The 2004 remake uses the imposition of the nanotechnological upon the human brain (female, one gay male) for an implant/take-over motif, with an actual robot only at film's climax and (spoiler here) gendered male heterosexual. For gender issues, cf. and contrast THE TERMINATOR: even as the super-macho male turns out to be a killer robot in TERMINATOR, the perfectly feminine woman, or tough Republican gay, turns out to be roboticized in STEPFORD 2004. Also, possibly of interest as a variation on what has been called in utopian studies a "critical utopia" (see Introduction to Dark Horizons, cited under Literary Criticism), or what we might call "a dystopia with a happy ending." Probably better considered as a cop-out dystopia in the manner of the "Love Conquers All" version of BRAZIL or, much less reprehensibly, the ending of the original theatrical release of BLADE RUNNER (both listed under Drama). Alternatively, of interest (but not here) for students of the movement away from satire toward comedy—or the Disneyfication, nice-ification, or neutering—of US satire, as seen in the differences between the remake of IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD, WORLD (1963) as the kinder, gentler RAT RACE (2001), or NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VAN WILDER (2002) as a grosser but gentler sequel to NATIONAL LAMPOON'S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978). Political implications discussed by Katha Pollitt, "Sex and the Stepford Wife," The Nation 279.1 (5 July 2004): 13.