YMMV / The Stepford Wives

The book, the original film and its sequels:

  • All There Is to Know About "The Crying Game": The Robotic Reveal of the original was the film's shocking surprise ending. Now it's the thing everyone knows about the story, and the phrase "Stepford Wife" had entered the lexicon.
  • Broken Base: The wives' outfits. In the original treatment, they were to be dressed "like Playboy bunnies, sans ears". When Nanette Newman was cast, the costumes instead became more like traditional 1950s housewives dresses. The original screenwriter disowned this, citing it unrealistic that men wanting to create sexbots wouldn't make them as sexy as possible. Others however feel that the 1950s dresses emphasise the Stay in the Kitchen satire more than the skimpy outfits would. The remake offers a compromise and puts the wives in flattering sun dresses.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In the film, the gallery director asks Joanna why she takes pictures. She answers, "I want to be remembered." Think about that once she's been replaced by a mindless double.
    • Joanna stabbing the duplicate of her beloved friend is this after Katherine Ross's daughter tried to stab her.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • It Was His Sled: The Robotic Reveal of the original was the film's shocking surprise ending. Thirty years later, when the phrase "Stepford Wife" had entered the lexicon, the remake assumed audience familiarity with the concept and played it for laughs.
  • Misaimed Fandom: There are people rooting for the robot wives and their husbands. No, really.

The 2004 remake:

  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • The scene where the husbands use one of the wives as an ATM.
    • There's also the unstoppable twirling scene and the remote control breast size scene. These were actually meant to be rather blatant Foreshadowing, but were rendered bizarre because of the last minute change to the ending.
  • Designated Hero: The three protagonists are all jerks. Both Joanna and Bobbie are Straw Feminists, the former being a Corrupt Corporate Executive who created reality shows revolving around women domineering over the men in their lives, the latter of whom couldn't care less about her own family and treated them as an annoyance, even writing a book that tells women to cut their husbands' balls off as they sleep for absolutely no reason. Meanwhile, the Camp Gay Roger regularly went out of his way to embarrass his partner. It is easy to see why some were Rooting for the Empire. At least in the case of Joanna, prior to the move to Stepford, her being a Corrupt Corporate Executive is a bad thing and her straw misandrist shows are terrible. It is somewhat mitigated by Joanna's Character Development.
  • Fans Prefer the New Her: Joanna's robot replacement was an Unnecessary Makeover in the original film, given that she was already quite good-looking beforehand. Here, though, the women look much better as "robots".
  • Older Than They Think:
    • While a lot of critics slated the film for taking a comedic approach to the storyline rather than the more serious tone of the previous adaptation, the original novel actually was more comedic in tone than the 1975 film. In fact, that film was actually supposed to be as comedic as this one, but director Bryan Forbes rewrote it and eliminated most of the humor.
    • The twist of the wives merely being lobotomized, rather than murdered and replaced with lookalike robots, might have came from the sequel films, which also performed this retcon so that the victims could be saved in the end.
  • Shocking Swerve: The 2004 remake ends with a twist: the wives simply have chips in their brains that are easily deactivated, rather than being robot doubles, so we can have a happy ending. This creates a large plot hole, as it contradicts a few scenes like one of the wives acting like an ATM and spewing dollar bills from her mouth, or the Camp Gay guy apparently looking at his robot double in horror. One deleted scene with Bette Midler's character going nuts with various housecleaning accessories in her body makes it very clear that they were originally intended to be robots. This could be due to the film's multiple reshoots.
  • What an Idiot: As The Blockbuster Buster pointed out, the husbands should've been put in jail for what they did to their wives...instead their punishment is house arrest and having to perform regular chores performed by the Stepford Wives and are still married to their wives...whom they've tried to brainwash and enslave their wives.
    Blockbuster Buster: It's funny because they should be in jail, for consenting to the illegal performance of brain surgery on their wives as well as enslaving them but instead their punishment is to perform everyday common chores for their families.
    • Though it may have been part of a plea deal with the authorities. Those same husbands were privy to advanced technology in various fields including robotics, cybernetics and neurosurgery. That would benefit humanity greatly and would definitely be worth a reduced sentence or special conditions.
    • Whether they are still married is questionable. They may be husbands in name only as their wives have very solid (and favorable) grounds for divorce. Plus, we only see one scene of the husbands during their house arrest and they're clearly under surveillance. Finally, we don't see all the husbands; some of them may actually be in prison.