Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


TADPOLE (2002) Director: Gary Winick. Screenplay by Heather McGowan and Niels Mueller.

An intelligent fifteen-year-old who fancies himself more sophisticated than he really is develops an infatuation on his middle-aged stepmother (Sigourney Weaver, pictured) and has little interest in girls his own age. At one point he has sex with his stepmother's forty-ish friend, played by Bebe Neuwirth. When the parents, including father John Ritter, find out about this, they hardly react the way they would in real life, although at least Weaver seems a little bit appalled. She, too, winds up kissing her stepson, although this – fortunately – does not lead to another bedroom scene. In the way of the immature, the boy gets over his crush pretty fast, and the movie is left without a climax or any real resolution. The only point of Tadpole seems to be to present pedophilia – and make no mistake, that's what this is – as an acceptable option to women who can't find sensitive boyfriends their own age. Neuwirth's choice to molest the boy seems determined by the fact that her current beau is not attractive to her [then why is she bothering with the man at all?]. The scene where she rationalizes her actions to Weaver takes place in Central Park near the statues of Alice in Wonderland characters – a rather heavy-handed reference if ever there were one. One can only imagine the outcry this film would have gotten had the youngster been a girl instead of a boy, and if the molester were male. [Or if both adult and child were males!] Despite some good acting [by adult performers who should have known better] and an excellent performance by Aaron Stanford as the boy, this is pseudo-sophisticated pedophilic junk and not memorable at all.

Verdict: Forget it. 1/2*.

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