Reviews/The Stepford Children

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Baron's review

The Stepford Children (8 January 2001)

Made for TV sequel (the first true sequel, BTW), famous for the Mary robot's malfunction: "I'm a very lucky girl...very lucky girl...very lucky girl..."

Plot is simple: First time it was the wives, now it's the kids' turn to be replaced with robot duplicates. Heading up the good old Stepford Mens' Association this time is Richard (Oscar Goldman) Anderson. A neat twist is the suggestion of cloning as the next step (towards the end).

The distaff machines are: Judith Baldwin/"Kimberly Summer", Debbie Barker/"Lois Gregson", Sharon Spellman/"Sandy Gregson", and Tammy Lauren as malfunctioning Mary. Barbara "Jeannie" Eden is the crusading heroine, Don Murray is the poor sap who yearns for his first (robot) wife, and Dick Butkus is his usual goonish charachter.

Apart from Mary's malfunction, the Kimberly robot has a few good blank looks, Lois turns up with Katherine Ross' "unfinished" solid black eyes, and Sandy really "loves a good bundt cake." A small cut above the usual made for TV fare, and a damn sight better than the other two "sequels."

Welllllll......maybe I was a bit too kind, the first time around. Icon twisted.gif

NBC originally broadcast TSC in 1986/7; the film (at the time) was notable for the return of the original Stepford robot plot basis, but they still managed to muddy the waters with the cloning subplot (I still remember Oscar, er, Richard Anderson's overly-hammy "You're killing LIVING THINGS!" as the cloning lab was discovered, and later wrecked). And it was a nice little treat seeing some fembots in prime time again.

However, TSC WAS a made-for-TV effort, and in places it most definitely SHOWS!!! The clash between the human kids of the 80's (whose depiction itself was a cliche), and the 50's - era (also stereotyped) robot kids was a bit jarring - didn't they have JD's in the 50's?

And why was Don Murray's first wife found in the cemetary? If it had been the human version, that would be understandable, but why bury a robot? How did she "expire?" Could she have been repaired, or barring that, wouldn't it have made more sense to "part her out," thus getting rid of the incriminating evidence? (I know, I know - that's WAY too logical for TV - and that's why they did what they did!) Oh, well.

There WAS (generally) a decent amount of respect paid to the overall premise - the actresses took their roles seriously enough to avoid cliches, or in Tammy Lauren's case, created a whole new one!! (Keep in mind, her malfunction was all in the ACTING - no SFX - and she created the illusion VERY convincingly with a blank stare, strategic twitching, and phrase repetition; that was all!!)

For what it is, TSC is still a fairly decent flick (flaws and all); it holds up well against some bigger-budget silver screen efforts (as will be seen in the future, when I start carving turkeys Icon twisted.gif ), and it did add another "standard" to the list of things we find appealing about this interest........ Icon wink.gif


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