Aaron Stanford as Oscar Grubman
Sigourney Weaver as Eve
John Ritter as Stanley Grubman
Bebe Neuwirth as Diane
Robert Iler as Charlie
Peter Appel as Jimmy
Adam LeFevre as Phil
Alicia Van Couvering as Daphne Tisch
Kate Mara as Miranda Spear
Ron Rifkin as Professor Tisch
Paul Butler as Professor Sherman
Feature Commentary with Director Gary Winick
Widescreen (1.85:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
Running Time: 78 Mins.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Oscar Grubman is a smart, cultured, and slightly arrogant 15-yr old who is on his way home from boarding school for Thanksgiving. He also has an infatuation for older women. This becomes a problem when he falls in love with his stepmother, Eve. Totally smitten, he’s desperate to gain her attention.
Oscar happens to catch the eye of Diane, Eve’s best friend. Sophisticated with a hidden wild side, Diane becomes interested in Oscar as a new plaything. In a moment of passion, she sleeps with Oscar. Ashamed and embarrassed at betraying his love for Eve, Oscar does his best to hide what happened from her. Things get a little crazy for Oscar when Diane begins to toy with him more, threatening to reveal their love affair at every turn. But what will happen when Oscar’s secret is revealed?
“Tadpole” is rated PG-13 for sexual content, mature thematic elements and language.
“Tadpole” really wasn’t my kind of film. Not only was it artsy and boring, but I couldn’t get over the fact that the plot hinged on statutory rape. Diane slept with a minor. Not only is it illegal, it’s turned into a joke. None of the characters really even question whether it was the right thing to do. In fact, they cheer him on. Roger Ebert had a good point about this. If the sexes of the characters had been reversed and you had a 40-year-old man sleeping with a 15-year-old girl, it would be denounced as perverse and probably be boycotted. The movie then escalates things by having Oscar and Eve, his stepmother, express their love for each other. It was a bit much for me to take. I understand that the film’s creators were trying for a Greek drama / “The Graduate”/ coming of age tale, but nothing about it sits well with me.
It’s also a little hard to believe that Aaron Stanford as Oscar Grubman is someone charming and attractive enough to have women over twice his age fawning over him. He’s not attractive. He’s not nice. He’s arrogant and he constantly spouts out crap about Voltaire. What about this guy makes women want to risk jail time having sex with him? Nothing about it made sense.
As for the rest of the cast, they do pretty good jobs. Bebe Neuwirth seems to be having fun as the seductress. It’s quite a departure from her Lilith role on Cheers. She’s quite good in this movie. I’m a big fan of Sigourney Weaver. She has a couple of really good lines in this movie, but otherwise she doesn’t get to do a lot.
This movie was shot digitally and was filmed in about two weeks. That’s quite an accomplishment, but the final product doesn’t look that great. The picture has a home video blurriness to it that simply doesn’t look good. The camera also shakes so much that you’d think they paid a chimpanzee to film it. I realize they were going for an artsy-fartsy raw look to it, but it didn’t appeal to me personally. I was starting to get motion sick watching it.
In short, I liked very little about this film.
The only extra on this DVD is a Feature Commentary with Director Gary Winick. While I didn’t like the film, I did find the commentary interesting. Winick talks about shooting digitally, why he had to drop certain scenes, and how he cut corners on the budget. Any aspiring filmmaker would want to pick up some of his tips. Winick also talks about the plot, performances, and little touches that you might not have noticed upon your first viewing.
The Bottom Line:
This movie is really only going to appeal to those who are into independent films. This is not a film for the masses.