2.5/10 You know when the drama surrounding a movie is far more interesting than the actual movie itself, that you’re going to be in for a bad time. Director, cheater of husband and all around horrible person (who has worn pedophile symbology in another film she acted in) Olivia Wilde becomes 0 for 2 with her directing filmography. While her wildly overrated directorial debut “Booksmart” was a complete rip-off of “Superbad” but with girls instead of boys and more far left propaganda shoved in, Wilde continues her tradition of ripping off movies to make her own. Instead of “Superbad”, this time Wilde, along with screenwriters Carey Van Dyke and (who in all fairness had her original screenplay butchered by…) Katie Silberman rip off “The Stepford Wives” and steal a little from “The Matrix” while ripping off the twist ending of “The Village”. The movie doesn’t have a single original thing to say while it steals from those vastly superior films. Despite the unoriginality, the script and plot are riddled with holes, unanswered questions and many aspects that flat out make zero sense. It is hard to discuss many of the plot holes without giving out explicit spoilers, which I never do but take my word on this one. Some of the non-spoilery things that I can point out would be that in this 1950s idyllic setting, there is one specific place that the women of the town (called Victory) are not allowed to go. There is an important reason for them not being able to go there, which would threaten everything for the men. It might make sense then to put up fencing, walls, etc. or at least have some security guards keep any stragglers away from the place. But that would make sense and this movie doesn’t do that. Instead the place is completely unguarded, accessible and doesn’t even trigger any alarm that someone may be approaching. Random tremors/earthquakes occur every so often but they are never explained and once the twist ending is discovered, make even less sense. Gemma Chan plays Shelly and is married to Chris Pine’s Frank character, who leads Victory. Not only is Chan given absolutely nothing to do but her actions at the end of the movie have no clear motivations, come completely out of the blue and weren’t earned at all. There are many contradictory aspects like (I’ll have to be vague here) saying kids aren’t real but then having pregnant women. We also get a ton of hallucinations for the first 2/3 of the movie to alert Florence Pugh’s character Alice (an over the top name choice referencing “Alice in Wonderland”) that something is awry. Yet even her hallucinations don’t make any sense in the context of the movie’s plot. She isn’t being forced any medication and even after a psychiatric visit, her memory just so happens to come back, making that medical visit completely pointless. Wilde (who lied about firing Shia LaBeouf, who should be thankful he had nothing to do with this debacle) has stated that Pine’s Frank character was modeled after philosopher Jordan Peterson, highlighting clearly how little Wilde knows or understands Peterson’s work (how dare he care about men’s struggles and give self improvement tips to everyone such as making your bed…radical stuff indeed). There is no subtlety in the movie’s heavy handed messaging and the fact that it comes from such a disgusting director only makes these points fail harder. We can only hope after seeing how difficult she is to work with and how this movie barely broke even, that studios are smart enough not to hire Wilde to direct future rip-offs…uh, I mean movies. There are only a few positive remarks I can give this waste of time. Pugh, as always, never phones in a performance and does a great job as the leading lady (despite wasting her talents on a garbage script). The production design and costume design re-creating the 1950s are both incredibly well done and look authentic. Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is wonderful (just don’t go drinking with him in Poland) and John Powell’s score is one of the best of the year as it combines with the sound editing/mixing to haunt the audience. Like make-up on a pig, this movie might look and sound beautiful but it is completely style over substance, stealing from other films and has more plot holes than likeable characters. Don’t waste your time with this movie but instead you can seek out the original 1975 “The Stepford Wives” (the 2004 remake was horrendous). Between Wilde’s lying, ignorant personality and her lack of skill behind the camera…maybe she should worry, darling.

#TheStepfordLives / #NoVictoryLap / #FranklyHorrible / #ChrisPiningForTheGoodOldDays / #HarryStylesOverSubstance / #WonderWoman1954

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