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Tadpole /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Aaron Stanford, Sigourney Weaver, John Ritter, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Iler 

Directed by: Gary Winick 

Produced by: Gary Winick, Alexis Alexanian, Dolly Hall 

Written by: Niels Mueller, Heather McGowan 

Distributor: Miramax Films


Movie Image

Movie Image

Movie Image

     There is no logical explanation as to why I enjoyed Tadpole, I just did. If youíre looking for an intelligent in-depth analysis of the movies intellectually challenging features, read Rodger Ebert; I donít make huge opinions based on theatrical knowledge. This doesnít have any extraordinarily wonderful redeeming features, but its light-headed comedy brings some short-lived chuckles to spice up the afternoon. If you donít walk into the theatre with too high of expectations, youíll most likely have a great time; but if your looking for another big-budget sci-fi masterpiece, go and see Minority Report again.

     Tadpoleís premise has been used a million times, but the way that they incorporated various intelligent sayings and study into the dialogue is what makes it funny. As the story goes, a fifteen year-old boy comes home from boarding school for Thanksgiving to his father and step-mother in New York City. The teenager has the intelligence of a forty-year old, but the wit of a toddler. He has a very mature taste in literature, which turns out to be true with women, too. As fate has it, he becomes attracted to his step-mom, and mixes it up in bed with her best friend. Though he doesnít admit to his sexual preferences for a while, and does everything he can to cover it up, itís impossible for the secret to not leak out when things are getting a little suspicious. He ends up telling his father and gets the much expected cold shoulder. And to relief some of his guilt he decides to admittedly tell his best friend; who is uncomfortable with the situation, but at the same time wildly intrigued.

     The movie was shot in digital video for just under $150,000, which is almost nothing, even for an independent film. The camera is shaky, and the picture looks like it was shot by a couple of kindergarteners with hand-camcorders. Though at first this is very annoying, after the first fifteen minutes, you understand that there is a reason for this, other than keeping the budget low. The strange appearance of the video was intentional, to move in parallel to how the fifteen year old feels. The constantly motioned camera went along beautifully with his emotionally stirred personality. Though this might be the exact opposite of the filmmakersí intentions, Iím a teenager myself, in my eyes itís an adequate hypothesis.

     Tadpole is better seen on DVD than theatres, because of its laidback feel, and short length of seventy-eight minutes, though its material is pretty darn entertaining. Aaron Stanford, Sigourney Weaver, and John Ritter offered surprisingly appealing performances as well. There is one question lingering in my mind about it, though. I wonder how the movie wouldíve been affected by a larger budget. The shaky, digital video seemed to work to its advantage, and the characters personalities were able to better stand out on the simplistic sets. It seems that, if something like this werenít an indie, there wouldnít be as high of a level of that magic that you feel when watching it. Tadpole is one of, if not the best comedy of the year, its wonderfully outlandish material is simply a treasure.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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