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Saturday, June 19, 2004
WHEN REAL LIFE IS CREEPIER THAN STEPFORD

A few friends and I caught a screening of the Frank Oz remake of The Stepford Wives last night. As my friend pointed out mid-way through the piece, "Satire is no longer possible in this society." I think that is very true. How can you satire a society that is addicted to Fear Factor, WWF Smackdown and thinks that breeding human babies to suck the stem cells out of their brains is (yawn), no big deal?

The original Stepford Wives was creepy, not only because the filmmakers had better creative control than Oz and collaborators, but also, because there was still some notion of normal domesticity to exploit for satire. This is not the case any more.

So, this new Stepford, conscious that it isn't hitting the same dark chords as the original, elects to satirize the only somewhat stable target still left on the cultural shelf: Christians. The new Stepford, CT is a place where Christian men - as white as the pure driven snow (READ: BECAUSE CHRISTIANS ARE RACIST!!!) - maintain a shallow, phony existence to compensate for the fact that they are all underachieving wusses.

So biting. So prescient is Hollywood!

It was amazing to me how the film - even with its premise of ridiculing middle-class morality, still had to have a gay couple in the mix. They established that the butch-gay "husband" was evil by making him a, you know, Republican. (BLECK! YUCKY! EEEEW! WHAT A PERVERSION OF ALL THAT IS PURE AND TRUE!!!).

But enough about the annoying, election year agendizing of the project.

From a purely art standpoint, this piece fails early on in the script level. It isn't funny enough. It isn't creepy enough. It isn't clever enough. It just isn't enough. It should never have made it out of the pitch stage. Someone should have said, "And after we have recreated the whole cool look of the perfect fifties suburbia - then, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN?

Pass. Major pass.