Blog reviews

an open letter to Frank Oz

The-Stepford-Wives-Poster Dear Mr. Oz,

You’ve done so much to entertain us over the years. From the Muppets to Star Wars to Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Bowfinger, your track record has been mind-boggling. You really don’t owe us anything. I’m not writing to harass you or complain. I am merely making a suggestion.

When A. and I watched your remake of The Stepford Wives I couldn’t help but notice you were a little off. I don’t blame you. The script could’ve been better, and Nicole Kidman strikes me as a humorless person in general. There were a number of things out of your control which made that movie such a disappointment. But you were the director, and as director you kind of assume responsibility for the finished product. It has your name on it, after all.

The main problem with the 2004 Stepford Wives was that it was billed as a comedy, but it wasn’t funny. Oh, it had lots of funny actors in it: Matthew Broderick, Bette Midler, Christopher Walken. It even had a very talented director: you. The original Stepford Wives was a legitimately creepy movie, and it had one of the best sci-fi movie endings of all time (right up there with the 1978 Invasion of the Body Snatchers). You had the chance to comment on feminism thirty or so years after the original, but you kind of side-stepped it in favor of bland jokes and an ending that – let’s face it – I can hardly remember.

Since it seemed your intention was to wink at the original premise and throw in a modern twist, let’s start there. Why not use one of your old friends? Miss Piggy is an icon. You voiced her for 30 years. Do you still do that voice? Even if you don’t, she would be perfect in this movie. Instead of abducting women and turning them into manmade robots, all the women of Stepford are turned into Muppets. The joke would be that none of the male characters can tell the difference between a human woman and a felt puppet. Miss Piggy, of course, would be the “Queen Bee” of Stepford. You could then make Muppet versions of some other actresses for when they are turned into Stepford wives.

And how about a twist ending? Instead of being acquiescent homemakers, the Muppet Stepford wives revolt against the men (lead by Miss Piggy, of course) and start their own community. Maybe some of them run for public office. The men, horrified and unable to do anything about it, turn themselves into Muppets as well. The cycle is complete. Everybody is a Muppet.Miss_Piggy_In_PinkWhile I don’t expect you want to revisit a movie considered to be a failure, Mr. Oz, I think that making it into a real farce might be just the trick. I’ve always wanted to see what Matthew Broderick would look like as a Muppet (not to mention Christopher Walken). And I think the world is ready for a new kind of Muppet movie.

I hope you will consider my suggestion, Mr. Oz, and not take it as an insult. You have long been an inspiration of mine and I hope you continue to make movies just the way you want to.

Kid Shaykidman-stepford