Beautiful, sophisticated women are all over Oscar Grubman. He is sensitive and compassionate, speaks French fluently, is passionate about Voltaire, and thinks the feature that tells the most about a woman is her hands. On the train home from Chauncey Academy for the Thanksgiving weekend, Oscar confides in his best friend that he has plans for this vacation--he will win the heart of his true love. But there is one major problem--Oscar's true love is his stepmother Eve. Oscar is certain that he could be a better mate to Eve than his work-obsessed father. He fails to win Eve's heart and is consequently dejected. Oscar's path to his true love is further crossed by Diane, Eve's best friend who, one night while wearing Eve's borrowed perfumed scarf, offers him temporary comfort in an unconventional tryst. For Diane, Oscar fills a void in her life. For Oscar, Diane is somewhat of a distraction, as his continued pursuit of Eve leads to an unexpected resolution. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
When Oscar and Charlie are riding in the car, the scenery outside Charlie's window moves twice as fast as the scenery outside Oscar's window. See more »
I don't think Eve is happy. There's a void. Something's missing.
What makes you say that?
It's a woman thing. I sense it. I feel it. Plus, last week she said there was a void and something was missing.
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Oscar Grubman is a `40 year-old trapped in a 15 year-old's body,' a bright prep school sophomore who prefers Voltaire and Henry Miller to icons of pop culture and more `seasoned' women to girls his own age. The problem is that the woman he fancies himself in love with now is his very own stepmother, a heart specialist appropriately enough named Eve.
Despite the admittedly touchy subject matter, `Tadpole' exudes a great deal of undeniable charm, thanks, primarily, to superb performances by a first-rate cast and to the wry humor of much of the Heather McGowan/Niels Muller screenplay. Aaron Stanford and Sigourney Weaver are wonderful as Oscar and Eve, two extremely intelligent people who know that in other circumstances they might have been able to act on their feelings but who have the wisdom and maturity to see things for what they truly are. The possibility of giving into a `forbidden love' can exert a powerful force on an individual, and `Tadpole' does a nice job capturing that theme in a lighthearted, non-threatening way.
Of course, `Tadpole' taps into that age-old fantasy of a young boy's obsession with an older woman and one wonders how the audience would feel if the situation were reversed and he were the 40 year-old and she the 15 year-old in the relationship. I suspect, somehow, that a film on that subject would carry with it a darker, more sinister tone than the one we find in `Tadpole.' Actually, there are a number of very funny scenes in this film, with much of the humor deriving from the secrecy, misunderstandings and double entendres that would naturally arise from such a situation. Indeed, some of the movie plays like classic Restoration farce with an ersatz-incestuous twist. A good deal of the humor arises from the fact that the older women in the film see in this precocious teenager the kind of passion, intelligence and sensitivity that they don't find in men their own age.
Director Gary Winick shot the film in a digital format, giving the movie a slightly shaggy `independent' feel. This heightens the sense of intimacy and immediacy needed to confront this particular topic without seeming to exploit it at the same time. A slicker, more `commercial' look and approach would most likely have made the film appear too sleazy, distasteful and arch. As it is, we are amused at the same time we are appalled.
`Tadpole,' by lowering the protagonist's age and keeping the matter `all in the family' so to speak, has brought `The Graduate' into the 21st Century.
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