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Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Gary Winick
Produced by Alexis Alexanian
Dolly Hall
Gary Winick
Written by Heather McGowan
Niels Mueller
Starring Aaron Stanford
Bebe Neuwirth
Sigourney Weaver
John Ritter
Robert Iler
Music by Renaud Pion
Cinematography Hubert Taczanowski
Editing by Susan Littenberg
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release date(s) August 2, 2002
Running time 78 min.
Country United States
Language English

Tadpole is a 2002 comedy film, directed by Gary Winick. It stars Sigourney Weaver, Bebe Neuwirth, Aaron Stanford, John Ritter, Robert Iler, and Kate Mara.


Oscar Grubman, the fifteen year-old prodigal son of Columbia University history professor and author Stanley Grubman, is taking the train home from the Chauncey Academy for Thanksgiving; he is seated with his good friend Charlie. An attractive girl from his school, Miranda Spears, approaches him seemingly with interest and asks him what he's reading. Oscar politely brushes her off telling her that is a work by Voltaire, later explaining to his shocked chum, Charlie, that he is in love with another woman, and that he plans to win her heart this break.

They arrive in New York City and share a cab to their respective houses; Oscar parts from Charlie at his apartment were he is greeted with the nickname "tadpole" by the doorman Jimmy, lending the title of the movie. Oscar introduces us to his dad, the work-obsessed writer, Stanley, and stepmother, the passionate doctor Eve. That evening the Grubmans hold a party; Oscar's dad introduces him to a girl of his age, but Oscar is in love with someone more mature.

As the girl tries to talk to him Oscar remains distracted by the woman, whom it turns out he loves: his stepmother, Eve. Following Eve to the kitchen Oscar begins to put on his charm, but the unsuspecting Eve doesn't pick up on any of his advances. He then bumps into Eve's best friend, the chiropractor, Diane Lodder. She asks him about a book he has on Voltaire; he quotes: "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him," ending by saying that Voltaire had a sense of humor. Voltaire is quoted several times throughout the film with a shot of the quote to break up the body of the movie. Oscar's dad makes him walk the girl home, but after getting her outside he buys her a cab. Depressed from his failure to gain Eve's love, Oscar goes to a bar and gets drunk; after hitting on the French singer in French, though she herself does not speak French, he leaves for home.

Along the way he stumbles into Diane, who offers to take him home seeing his current condition. Once there, Oscar lies down on Diane's chiropractic table; discovering him already there Diane begins to massage him. After a brief rub Oscar notices Diane is wearing Eve's scarf and can smell Eve on it. Being drunk Oscar kisses Diane; they then proceed to have sex. Oscar awakes the next morning to meet Diane's boyfriend Phil, who thinks Oscar is a patient. Oscar goes home and asks his dad where Eve was. He says she is at work, so Oscar packs up a lunch to surprise her with.

Before he could go his dad asks him to come with him shopping; while out his dad discovers he was out last night with a girl, but Oscar tells him she was a schoolmate, Miranda Spears. He gets away from his dad and surprises Eve at her lab with the lunch. Oscar asks her how she can work with the heart and still think of it as a symbol for love; she explains that the heart itself is incredible and doesn't need to be a symbol, and together they decide that the liver should be the new symbol for love. Their conversation is interrupted by a phone call from Stanley, who reminds them of their dinner tonight at Le Gardin with Diane; Oscar freaks out about Diane's presence and rushes off to talk with her. Her boyfriend Phil directs him to the tea room. Oscar finds Diane with several friends, who all apparently heard about the previous evening, he is ensnared in a conversation and receives a number from one of the ladies; once alone with Diane he makes her promise to keep last night a secret. He also finds out that Eve once had a thing for sideburns.

In desperation for Eve's love Oscar goes to Charlie for help. He is forced to tell Charlie about Diane and Eve weirding him out, and in the end Oscar leaves with two sideburns from Charlie's dog. That night at dinner Oscar promises to play tennis with Eve. His dad meets Miranda Spears, the girl Oscar said he was with. After some wine Diane begins to play footsie with Oscar and she flirts with him in French; he excuses himself so they can talk and she kisses him while they're out, but Oscar's dad could see them through a mirror. Finally Diane admits that they are lovers and the evening ends very awkwardly.

The next day Diane explains to Eve why she did what she did saying that she was looking for something more and Oscar was a charming young man. Eve and Oscar play a tense round of tennis lobbing insults at each other, ending up with Oscar getting hit in the head with a tennis ball. Later Oscar explains to her that he only did what he did with Diane because he was drunk and she was wearing her scarf. Eve immediately understands that he is in love with her. They share a passionate kiss, she loses herself with oscar for sex but she quickly breaks away.

The next scene Eve and Stanley are seen taking Oscar to the train to leave for Chauncey again. While they are alone Eve asks Oscar how his liver feels and he replies that it hurts, but is not broken. On the train Oscar runs into Miranda who quotes Voltaire: "If we do not find something pleasant at least we will find something new." The song "Changes" by David Bowie starts up as the final scene shows Oscar tell Charlie what he realised. Charlie doesn't understand his friend, and we see Oscar smile as the train rolls on.


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