Tadpole

If David O. Russell’s Spanking the Monkey proved incest can be the source of bittersweet comedy, then this exquisitely acted and directed film does the same for statutory rape. It makes sense, though considering director Gary Winick also made 1998’s lovely, off-beat The Tic Code, a heartwarming family drama about a 10-year-old jazz prodigy with Tourette’s Syndrome. Here, first-time film actor Aaron Stanford portrays Oscar Grubman, a precocious 15-year-old prep-schooler with a dangerous crush on his stepmother (Sigourney Weaver). So what’s he do? He falls into bed with her chiropractor best friend (Bebe Neuwirth). John Ritter is just about perfect as Oscar’s oblivious and vaguely caring historian dad. And the intelligent, sympathetic Stanford is a star of the future. Extra points for the great music, which includes the best use of David Bowie’s "Changes" since The Breakfast Club.

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