Mixed or average reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 40
  2. Negative: 14 out of 40
  1. 80
    Contrary to recent rumors that it was a dud, the new Stepford Wives, with its chocolate-box visual style, archly heavy-handed foreshadowing and its scene-for-scene parody of the original's fright strategies (Walken's waxy menace is once again played for laughs), is a gas.
  2. Reviewed by: Cathleen McGuigan
    Glenn Close, Bette Midler and Roger Bart (who plays one half of a gay couple slated for Stepfordizing) are hilarious, and even Nicole Kidman flashes comedic gifts not seen since "To Die For."
  3. 75
    It's hilarious -- and on purpose, too. This is the first satisfying adult summer comedy set in New England to come out of Hollywood since "The Witches of Eastwick" in 1987.
  4. The star of this overachieving trifle is not Kidman, it's Paul Rudnick. The New York playwright and screenwriter ("In & Out") has taken a pair of dated watermarks from the '70s - Ira Levin's horror novel and its faithful 1975 movie adaptation - and turned them into a broad, feverishly fey parody.
  5. 75
    The 1975 movie tilted toward horror instead of comedy. Now here's a version that tilts the other way, and I like it a little better.
  6. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    I had a fabulous time. Well, I did once I accepted that it was a campfest--a great Provincetown drag show of The Stepford Wives.
  7. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    A film full of smart laughs.
  8. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    You feel some of the strain in this immaculately shot, designed and costumed farce, but it's fast and the cast is lively, even though a lost-looking Broderick rarely gets to shoot his patented bewildered look.
  9. Trying to be more antic and cuttingly funny, it misses the premise's shivery tension. The story loses us at precisely the moment it should put us in the vise.
  10. Because the entire audience knows what's going on, the filmmakers hope to distract viewers from storytelling weaknesses with an urgent sense of style.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Another "remake" that merits the title in name only, The Stepford Wives isn't the "troubled" disaster that media reports have suggested it might be, yet nor do its oddly matched parts ever congeal into a fully formed creation.
  12. If the filmmakers had made a point of satirizing the new makeover culture in ways that went beyond camp jibes at décor and suburbia, they might have come up with a classic.
  13. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    It’s funny, wonderfully performed by all, visually inventive.
  14. The film's creepier moments are pathetically weak, and its thematic update fails to attain the minimal credibility that even a wild farce needs to sustain itself.
  15. At no time do the men -- that is, the straight ones -- believably hold the upper hand. In the new town of Stepford, there's no bitterness, no struggle, no competition, none of the scars of the sexual revolution. There's just gay apparel.
  16. 50
    Close gets laughs, as does Bette Midler as a Jewish rebel. But the sting is gone.
  17. 50
    Isn't so much bad as it is puny: a sporadically amusing, occasionally funny, but ultimately bland and pointless time killer.
  18. Only Close, in a majestically, maniacally brittle demonstration of Stepford overdrive, has the courage to show how nutty the pursuit of domestic perfection is. In this mess of a film, she is perfection.
  19. 50
    Great casting ideas, like Glenn Close and Christopher Walken as "the King and Queen of Stepford," don't pay off, because the filmmakers' increasingly desperate twists alter the basis of the characters.
  20. 50
    Boasts a stellar ensemble cast and some priceless one-liners -- but those pearls of acerbic wit have been strung together on a cheap piece of thread which almost inevitably breaks in the third act.
  21. Before it degenerates into a complete mess, it's an entertaining mess, and something about its willingness to please maintains the audience's goodwill throughout.
  22. It was somebody's nitwit idea to rip out the story's guts and brains for a sour sellout of a finale -- which finds the filmmakers behaving exactly like Stepford men and turning an original into a dummy.
  23. It does manage to fire off a handful of decent jokes and a few sneaky insights before losing its nerve and collapsing into incoherence.
  24. 40
    The picture is mildly entertaining and stringently unoffensive (provided you're not a supersensitive upper-crusty type from Connecticut). Yet it has problems from the start.
  25. 40
    Almost desperate to show it gets its own point. What's funny is that the joke--"Invasion of the Body Snatchers" reconfigured as anti-feminist backlash--was scarcely fresh when Bryan Forbes shot the first movie version nearly 30 years ago.
  26. Unfortunately this is much tamer than it had to be--Rudnick Lite, meaning on the edge of evaporation.
  27. A Frankenstein's monster of a movie: clumsy, patched together from parts that don't align properly, desperate to be loved, destined to be chased by mobs with pitchforks - those will be the critics - until it stumbles into its grave.
  28. 38
    If the film is to work on any level, even a comedic one, it's necessary for the viewers to sympathize with Joanna and Walter. However, the script and scattershot performances keep them at arm's length. Nicole Kidman is in full scenery-chewing mode, and Matthew Broderick hasn't been this invisible since Ferris Bueller had to go back to school.
  29. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    Close is the best and worst thing about the film, delivering a performance that upstages even Christopher Walken (!), taking her over-the-top Cruella de Vil turn to its saccharine-sweet opposite.
  30. 30
    The movie takes a desperately wrong turn about 45 minutes in, and you can almost hear the great sucking sound as the whole thing churns down the drain in a swirl of narrative contradictions.
  31. The result: an empty comedy that takes hackneyed potshots at consumerism.
  32. None of it appears to be well thought out, or thought through, and it's consequently never remotely believable.
  33. Reviewed by: Kevin Carr
    The story and themes behind The Stepford Wives are way past their time. They’re products of the 1960s.
  34. 30
    Rudnick is a wit, and his script allows everyone a decent one-liner or two. But the problem with one-liners is that they only last one line, leaving a whole movie around them that needs filling in.
  35. Lured to the project with John Cusack as her original co-star (cruelly replaced by Matthew Broderick), Nicole Kidman phones it in.
  36. The film contains so many endings that it's hard to tell what impressions the filmmakers want us to leave the theater with. Buy a copy of the book instead. It remains an excellent read.
  37. Reviewed by: Karen Karbo
    So god-awful it falls into the category of needing to be seen to be believed. A purported satire of the 1975 camp horror classic, it succeeds in failing on almost every level, including knowing what it's actually satirizing.
  38. There is no tonal consistency from scene to scene, swinging from domestic drama to farce. Most of the actors -- especially Matthew Broderick -- look lost.
  39. Misbegotten is the only way to describe this remake of the 1975 film based on Ira Levin's cultural-zeitgeist novel.
  40. A pitiful shambles of a remake, The Stepford Wives might have qualified as a rethinking of the 1975 original if there were any trace of coherent thought in the finished product.
User Score

Mixed or average reviews- based on 87 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 37
  2. Negative: 13 out of 37
  1. Feb 14, 2012
    This was such a bad comedy! The cast is actually quite impressive, but they do not do much with their shallow characters - and how couldThis was such a bad comedy! The cast is actually quite impressive, but they do not do much with their shallow characters - and how could they?? Horrible screenplay, and just a bad film overall... Nicole Kidman is decent in the film, and the overall cast is good. Bette Midler is pretty good and pretty much the most entertaining character in this "comedy." As Kidman said at a press statement once "It's a comedy. We hope." Unfortunately, that hope did not materialise into reality, since there is almost nothing funny about The Stepford Wives. It is not even bad enough to be funny - that's how bad it is! The 2 is truly only out of my respect for the misguided actors and for rather good production design - the costumes and art direction were both very well done. Overall, though, a film that had a lot of potential has been sucked dry of all its originality, charm and, most importantly, its humour. 2/10 Full Review »
  2. joes.
    Oct 25, 2005
    My favorite movie.
  3. Sep 1, 2014
    Frank Oz's The Stepford Wives starts out incredibly strong. As the story unfolds, both the direction, the actors and the audiences lose sightFrank Oz's The Stepford Wives starts out incredibly strong. As the story unfolds, both the direction, the actors and the audiences lose sight of what's going on. An unfortunate waste of ample on-screen talent. Full Review »