A Sundance favorite in 2002, Tadpole is o­ne of those low-budget celluloid gems that usually doesnít get the audience it deserves. Shot o­n digital video and just 77 minutes long, Tadpole has a cast worthy of big budget productions: Sigourney Weaver, Bebe Neuwirth, John Ritter, Robert Iler (The Sopranos), and newcomer Aaron Stanford, as well as a smart script by Niels Mueller and Heather McGowan. The story concerns an intellectual and precocious prep-schooled 15 year-old, Oscar (Aaron Stanford) who is in love with his scientist step-mother, Eve (Sigourney Weaver), and visiting home (the Upper East Side) for Thanksgiving weekend. In the process of trying to win her over, he ends up bedding her 40ish best friend Diane (Bebe Neuwirth), and volleying some of his pubescent angst over to his absent-minded academic father, Stanley (John Ritter). At weekend's end, the Voltaire-spouting Oscar ("a 40-year-old trapped in a 15-year-old's body") learns that his intellectual prowess doesn't quite give him the maturity that years of experience can as he opts to grow up alongside his private school peers. Aaron Stanford remains the standout as the conflicted teen, meshing self-conscious insecurity with adult sensibilities in a performance that will surely merit future interest. Tadpole may be a small indie film, but it packs a lot of charm and wit that some majors could learn from.


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