Tadpole

TADPOLE

Miramax Home Entertainment, $29.99

VOTING IN THE first Seattle film critics' poll recently, I threw all my weight—in some weighted ballot scheme I scarcely understand—behind Bebe Neuwirth in the supporting actress category for her deliciously droll, lascivious work in this charming little coming-of-age sex comedy (on disc Jan. 21). I am gratified to report that she won, and our left-field choice even showed up in Entertainment Weekly's Oscar handicapping guide.

Neuwirth plays the Mrs. Robinson figure to a precocious 15-year-old (Aaron Stanford) hoping to seduce his own stepmom (Sigourney Weaver); needless to say, everyone ends up in the wrong bed. At 78 minutes, Tadpole barely reached feature length in theaters; on disc, surprisingly, there are no deleted scenes to pad its running time. The only extra is a commentary track by director Gary Winick, who was a lot more interesting when he came to SIFF last year. He drones on and on about technical and filmmaking arcana—oblivious to the fact that viewers don't care about lens filters and ADR (automated dialogue replacement, an acronym he assumes all you future directors will understand).

So skip the commentary and salivate over Neuwirth (whose Lilith character on Frasier always carried suggestions of such dormant sexuality). She says to the film's Candide-reading teen hero, "You're a grown-up," then pauses to light a cigarette. "Or close enough." In truth, Tadpole's cheap, muddy DV photography is better suited to the small screen than the cinema. Perhaps that limitation, or its vaguely incestuous theme, hurt its box office when the movie opened last July. Now, it's a film that should find its true audience on video.

ALSO OUT ON Jan. 21, The Bourne Identity proved an unexpected hit and may spawn another Matt Damon-starring sequel. 24 Hour Party People deserves a second look for its deft chronicling of Manchester, England's music scene. Al Pacino's Hollywood satire Simone offers some laughs, while Warren Beatty's much better 1975 Hollywood satire, Shampoo, debuts on disc (no extras). Also out: Julianne Moore in World Traveler and Danny Aiello in Dinner Rush. Plexifilm is issuing the cult music documentary Benjamin Smoke and the surreal Thai thriller Mysterious Object at Noon. And on Jan. 7, Anchor Bay put out three old Wim Wenders titles, including The American Friend.

Brian Miller

bmiller@seattleweekly.com

 
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