Tadpole

"Excellent"

Tadpole Review


When you're young, it seems all you want is to be older - whether it's finally to be allowed to stay up late, to go out to a bar, or just to be taken seriously. In Oscar's case, it's just to be desirable.

All of Oscar Grubman's (Aaron Stanford) prep school friends - including best friend Charlie (Robert Iler of Sopranos fame) - tell him that he's a 40-year-old trapped in a 15-year-old's body. Instead of feeding on pop culture and pop music, Oscar spends his time quoting Voltaire and listening to opera. Think of him as a Max Fisher minus the bullshit. He strives to be cultured and sophisticated well beyond his years, and girls his age just don't cut the gouda.

Instead, Oscar prefers his women more "experienced," and his current unfortunate obsession is his stepmother Eve (Sigourney Weaver). He's full of passion and enthusiasm and French witticisms, and thinks these qualities will win Eve away from his self-absorbed history professor dad (John Ritter). So, he heads home for Thanksgiving, fixed on declaring his feelings.

But constantly sidetracked from his goal, he wanders drunk and dejected into the groping arms of Eve's licentious best friend Diane (Bebe Neuwirth) who falls in lust with Oscar's youthful intensity. In one of the movie's funniest scenes, Oscar tracks Diane down at a cafe where she's having tea with girlfriends, only to find out that - not only has she told all her friends about their tryst - but they all want to give him their phone numbers. Oscar spends much the rest of the movie trying to cover up his indiscretion in hopes of winning over Eve, but will he ever confess his love?

Short, simple, charming, and brilliant, Tadpole is a rare find in a sea of summer blockbusters and overblown budgets. Armed with an incredibly clever and funny script and efficient pacing, it delivers so much in a well-tuned 77-minute package. More impressive, the Sundance crowd-pleaser was also shot in less than two weeks entirely in digital video (which sometimes becomes apparent through washed-out colors or graininess).

But the real secret to Tadpole's success is its amazing cast. Neuwirth - all sexual confidence and newfound, forty-something rebellion - steals the show every moment she's on screen. Weaver plays Eve with elegant tenderness. Best of all, newcomer Stanford gives the otherwise arrogant, exasperating Oscar a deep sensitivity and sincerity, bringing us into his distorted adolescent mind where a 15-year-old apparently has every right to seduce his stepmother.

One interesting question that begs to be asked, however, is what if the roles were reversed (older man and young girl)? Would we find this charmer quite as funny? Oddly, Tadpole nearly completely ignores the taboo that 40-year-olds shouldn't be seducing 15-year-olds - precocious or not. But playing with that provocative line is part of the film's allure, and it seems to work against the backdrop of New York City cosmopolitan outrageousness.

The film's only real stumble is its somewhat convenient ending, which saps a little of our respect for an otherwise winning protagonist. But there's so much ahead of that ending that makes Tadpole a treat. And if you go to a 7 o'clock show, kids, it won't keep you up past your bedtime.

DVD features a commentary from director Winick.

Fished in.



Tadpole

Facts and Figures

Run time: 78 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 7th November 2002

Box Office USA: $2.9M

Box Office Worldwide: 2

Budget: 150

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 83 Rotten: 24

IMDB: 6.3 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Oscar Grubman, as Miranda Spear, as Diane Lodder, as Stanley Grubman, as Eve Grubman

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.