Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    It's a funny, fearless, poignant, spectacular performance. Come to think of it, those words could well apply to the entirety of Tadpole.
  2. 100
    Doesn't need the passage of time to become a classic. It's one already.
  3. 100
    Short and sweet, small and smart, Tadpole is the oasis in the desert of dopey summer blockbusters - an uproarious, sophisticated coming-of-age comedy so flawlessly written, acted and directed it seems practically miraculous.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    A smart sex comedy that successfully swims upstream to spawn and score.
  5. 90
    Tadpole may be small, but it's something special -- a cheeky comedy knockout.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    An irreverent and witty comedy in which the events aren't predictable but are well paced.
  7. 88
    Has nearly perfect pitch.
  8. It's an appealing mix of an old Hollywood movie world of Upper East Side sophisticates with the character-driven spontaneity of a modern American indie, all very slight and light but deftly done.
  9. Where ''Rushmore'' surprises and delights with its spiky depiction of sprawling American idiosyncrasy, Tadpole's more urbane, less complicated charms are specifically made in New York City.
  10. Shot in just two weeks with a hand-held digital camera, the movie often looks frayed around the edges. Yet it has a soulful heart and a clear grasp of its rarefied milieu (Manhattan upper-level moneyed academia).
  11. 80
    As sweet and unassuming a film as they come, embraces both perspectives -- it's sympathetic to the batty throes of a first infatuation, but affably demurs at indulging them.
  12. Witty, adult treatment of an offbeat subject: a pubescent boy's infatuation with an older woman.
  13. Stanford and Neuwirth are performers of such nuance that a mere glimpse of his body language and her bawdy language speak volumes about the difference between love and sex, the ideal and the real.
  14. Neuwirth vamps up a storm: She's like some silent-screen hellion sending lust rays out of bemused eyes.
  15. Armed with a witty script, Winick and the actors so confidently ply the Oedipal waters that the comedy seems sweetly chaste.
  16. 75
    Oscar's life has the potential to become a Greek tragedy, but Winick keeps things light enough that it resolutely stays a comedy.
  17. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    Not a film that will change your life. It instead proves that shooting your movie with cheap technology doesn't mean it can't be fun or entertaining. In the end, that's enough.
  18. 70
    Though sloppily structured and sometimes dangerously flimsy (not to mention truncated at a mere 78 minutes), Tadpole has an unforced charm that compensates for the absence of more traditional cinematic virtues.
  19. Overcomes its visual hideousness with a sharp script and strong performances.
  20. It requires nothing more of a viewer than quiet complaisance, which is rewarded in turn by pleasant scenery, a few mild laughs, and the dependably involving presence of Weaver and, especially, Neuwirth.
  21. 70
    The great Bebe Neuwirth should apply for a patent on her slow and dirty smile. The scene in which she introduces her new conquest to her girlfriends over tea, and pretty well pimps him to any takers, is worth the price of a ticket. [29 July 2002, p. 92]
  22. 63
    But as likable as it is, Tadpole is hardly a maturing woman's revenge movie, but another male fantasy -- that of the sexually nurturing mother figure. If only all coming-of-age sexual experiences could be as healthy and wholesome.
  23. Smart and sophisticated entertainment, whatever its shortcomings, and it deserves to be encouraged. Not the behaviour it portrays, of course; but the worldly common sense of knowing that most people have a secretly ambiguous view of sexual prohibitions, and that this is the fertile ground of great comedy.
  24. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Both Stanford and Neuwirth are excellent in tricky parts, yet screenwriters Heather McGowan and Niels Mueller abruptly end the story just as the characters are arriving at some uncomfortable showdowns.
  25. The witty coming-of-age film is marred by an uneven, digitally shot look, a disservice to its first-rate cast.
  26. 50
    Written in wisps and watery double-entendres by Heather McGowan and Niels Mueller, and the movie is so benign that its proceedings are beside the point.
  27. 50
    I praised "Lovely & Amazing," which also features a romance between an adult woman and a teenage boy. But "Lovely & Amazing" is about events that happen in a plausible world (the adult is actually arrested). Tadpole wants only to be a low-rent "Graduate" clone.
  28. 50
    The big problem with it is that the setup is treated as just that, a scheme around which many things that are intended to be funny (but aren't very) are packed like ice around a fish.
  29. 50
    Tadpole was shot on digital video, and the images often look smeary and blurry, to the point of distraction. Then again, in a better movie, you might not have noticed.
  30. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    This breezy romantic trifle isn't nearly as clever as it imagines itself to be, but it's smart enough not to take itself too seriously.

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