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The Stepford Husbands

"Husbands" is the third Stepford sequel to hit the small screen, following "The Revenge of the Stepford Wives" and "The Stepford Children" (which most parents might welcome). But it couldn't have been made until now, in an era when , as one character puts it, women have made great strides with their careers and men have become confused as to their roles in society.

With:
Cast: Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean, Cindy Williams, Louise Fletcher, Sarah Douglas. Equal-rights version of bigscreen camp favorite "The Stepford Wives,""The Stepford Husbands" is thriller lite, despite pro perfs from Donna Mills and Michael Ontkean. Telepic is technically well-made but never reaches the delicious claustrophobic paranoia and sheer creepiness of its 1975 predecessor.

“Husbands” is the third Stepford sequel to hit the small screen, following “The Revenge of the Stepford Wives” and “The Stepford Children” (which most parents might welcome). But it couldn’t have been made until now, in an era when , as one character puts it, women have made great strides with their careers and men have become confused as to their roles in society.

The lobotomized men in “Husbands” presumably have behaved badly by not being supportive of their liberated wives.

Jodi and Mick Davison (Donna Mills and the adorable Michael Ontkean) are a stressed-out Manhattan couple whose marriage is hurting. Jodi’s college pal Caroline (Cindy Williams) persuades the pair to move to charming, tranquil Stepford, Conn., which consists entirely of gorgeous Colonial homes, perfectly groomed yards and too-happy couples.

But the Davisons continue to have problems, due largely to novelist Mick’s writer’s block. At a benefit for the Stepford Institute, Caroline slips Mick a Mickey, and the bewildered Jodi, thinking him out of control and drunk, commits him to the Institute.

He emerges a very changed man. Jodi senses something is amiss and snoops around, correctly guessing the evil plotting behind the cheerful faces of the Stepford population.

“Husbands” offers a decent diversion, and the familiar faces of Mills and Ontkean are nice to see, but script by Ken and Jim Wheat doesn’t deliver thrills — just standard telepic stuff — not all that interesting or compelling. Helmer Fred Walton keeps things moving at a snappy pace.

Production designer Geoffrey Grimsman has put together a great-looking telepic, as the interiors of the Stepford homes look wonderful and Mills’ wardrobe is top-notch.

Popular on Variety

The Stepford Husbands

Production: The Stepford Husbands (Tues. (14), 9-11 p.m., CBS) Filmed in Wilmington, N.C., by Edgar J. Scherick Associates. Producer, Mitch Engel; director, Fred Walton; writers, Ken and Jim Wheat; production designer, Geoffrey Grimsman; director of photography, Don FauntLeRoy.

Crew: Editor, David Lloyd; sound mixer, Steve Aaron; casting, Natalie Hart and Jason LaPadura.

With: Cast: Donna Mills, Michael Ontkean, Cindy Williams, Louise Fletcher, Sarah Douglas. Equal-rights version of bigscreen camp favorite "The Stepford Wives,""The Stepford Husbands" is thriller lite, despite pro perfs from Donna Mills and Michael Ontkean. Telepic is technically well-made but never reaches the delicious claustrophobic paranoia and sheer creepiness of its 1975 predecessor.

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