Combustible Celluloid
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With: Aaron Stanford, Bebe Neuwirth, Sigourney Weaver, John Ritter, Robert Iler, Kate Mara
Written by: Heather McGowan, Niels Mueller, based on a story by Heather McGowan, Niels Mueller, Gary Winick
Directed by: Gary Winick
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, mature thematic elements and language
Running Time: 78
Date: 12/01/2000

Tadpole (2000)

2 Stars (out of 4)

May-November Romance

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This extremely slight movie runs only 77 minutes and was shot on early, bleary digital video, but it was a hit at Sundance and received mostly warm reviews. I was not one of its supporters — I found it a bit shallow and unnecessarily awkward — but others might be, especially since it's a good example of an offbeat Thanksgiving tale. In Tadpole (2002), the title character, Oscar Grubman (Aaron Stanford) is 15 years old, goes to prep school, speaks French, and reads and quotes Voltaire. He heads home for the holiday break with a crush on his stepmom (Sigourney Weaver), and plans to seduce her. Instead he ends up sleeping with family friend and chiropractor Diane (Bebe Neuwirth), who then, of course, shows up for dinner. John Ritter plays Oscar's father, and a young Kate Mara plays an admirer who is actually Oscar's own age. Gary Winick won the Directing award at Sundance, and the following year he was producer on a much better Thanksgiving movie, Pieces of April.

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