Directed by Frank Oz, starring Nicole Kidman, Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Glenn Close, Christopher Walken, Roger Bart, David Marshall Grant and Jon Lovitz.

This film version of Ira Levin's book is good in places but ultimately mediocre. The mediocrity stems mainly from a sloppy ending, which is confused due to some really poor editing.

On paper this movie has all the ingredients to entice the hordes, with plenty of big name and well-loved actors appearing. The females produce far more satisfying performances, with Kidman and Midler first class as Joanna Eberhart and Bobbie Markowitz respectively. Eberhart is a highly successful TV executive who suffers a nervous breakdown after a series of catastrophic events ruins her career. Her husband Walter (Broderick) takes her and their two kids to the idyllic city of Stepford in Connecticut to reduce Joanna's stress level and rescue their marriage.

When they get there she becomes sceptical of the wives who are all married to charmless nerds and all behave in the same overbearingly obedient manner. She teams up with recovering alcoholic Markowitz and the camp Roger Bannister (Bart), but will they be able to figure out what's going on before they also become Stepford Wives?

Broderick looks ill at ease as the subservient husband but that's probably because he still looks and acts the same way he did in 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off'. Christopher Walken puts in an equally inept showing as the man for all men, Mike Wellington. This is his second below par role this year following his contribution to the awful 'Welcome to the Jungle'.

The movie is nowhere near as disturbing as the 1975 original because this effort has its feet firmly planted in the comedy section. Although peppered with funny moments, there was probably room for a tad more seriousness, particularly near the finish, because it becomes rather farcical.

Those hoping for a moving ending like the one involving Katherine Ross in the 70s should lower their expectations.

Séamus Leonard