Okay, so what movie will I be reviewing this time?
I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself. This blog was supposed to be about things that inspire me, that motivate me to create great art. Instead I keep writing about the worst films out there. I guess it doesn’t matter; I’ve committed to this so let’s do a rundown of this piece of crap.
I first heard about Tiptoes five years ago from one of my favorite Cracked articles. I discovered that this movie was about a happy couple, Steven and Carol. Both are preparing to get married, but Carol doesn’t know Steven’s dirty little secret: his entire family is dwarfs. When she becomes pregnant she has to consider whether or not she has the strength to bring a little person into the world.
Also, Gary Oldman plays a little person, Peter Dinklage is a French Marxist with severe gastrointestinal problems, and David Allen Grier wears an awful wig and appears solely to have sex with Bridget the Midget.
It’s going to be very hard to get you all to believe what happens in this movie.
As you might expect, this film is utterly insane. It takes forever for any plot to appear, the characters are ridiculous, and people’s motivations switch on a dime. I want to stress that like with all my other movie reviews, things in quotations were actually said. Also, if you decide to watch this film, put on the subtitles. Between McConaughey’s mumbling, Dinklage’s hilarious French accent, and the strange Southern diatribe Gary Oldman chose, you’ll barely understand a word of the dialogue. I can’t do any more preface than that, so let’s just dive in.
The movie starts out with two weird motorcycles flying down the highway. Within seconds we get the first bizarre choice this movie made: the title card.
Why is the “o” so wide? Are they insinuating that little people are fat? That’s offensive.
Once we see these vehicles drive around for a bit we switch over to our two main characters, Steven and Carol. Carol is doing that thing that all painters do in movies, where they work so hard they need to shove an extra paintbrush in their mouth.
If only humans had an extra hand to carry things in situations like this.
Steven waltzes in and we get the film’s first piece of dialogue.
Steven: “I don’t know how in the hell you work this way.”
Carol: “It relaxes me.”
That’s not absolutely awful, and I wouldn’t have even mentioned it except for the fact that Matt and Kate make the strangest choices here. Matt reads his lines like he’s a creep about to rape Carol, and Kate says her words all breathy like she’s in a porno. It’s bizarre. I wish I could show you a clip, but there are absolutely no scenes from this movie online.
I can give you the trailer, but this movie is not a romantic comedy. This video is a lie.
Anyway, this scene with Steven and Carol goes on a long time and nothing happens. Steven has something he has to go do with his family but won’t tell Carol what it is. There’s a lot of mumbling.
We then cut cut back to the highway where Rolfe (Steven’s twin brother) and his friend Maurice are pissing on the side of the road. Rolfe says something that made me stop and think for a few minutes; I honestly couldn’t tell if it was a horrible line or a great one. Maurice tells Rolfe to shut up, and after literally 8 seconds of silence Rolfe mumbles:
“You diminutive French snail.”
Maurice notices a woman named Lucy kicked off a bus. He drives his bike over to offer her a ride, and we get the first of many ridiculous screenshots of these two together.
This is okay, but trust me, there are some golden ones coming up.
So we cut back to Steven, who it turns out is attending a meeting of the Little Person’s Defense League. We discover that his whole family are little people. This is all incredibly boring; we learn nothing else about his character or the relationship he has with his family. There is, however, an amazing scene of Matthew McConaughey dancing awkwardly.
He insists on aiming his butt at these children and swinging his left arm around like a T-Rex who had a stroke.
Eventually Rolfe, Maurice, and Lucy show up. Rolfe introduces Maurice to Steven while calling him an asshole, and we get the first classic Lucy line of the film.
“The asshole is the strongest muscle in the human body.”
Luckily, this does lead to a hilarious reaction shot from McConaughey.
We’re then treated to another auditory treat from Lucy, which made me firmly decide that I hate this woman.
Ugh. Nothing really happens for a while after this. Rolfe and Steven catch up, and then Steven goes home to his wife and they talk. Despite their conversations being normal and calm, the music acts like they’re all dying from cancer while using their last breaths to find the cure for AIDS.
Screw you, music. Don’t try to change what I feel.
At this point, Carol tells her fiance that she might be pregnant. This is a fucking stupid thing to do. You can take a pregnancy test as soon as you’ve missed your period; if you feel like you might be pregnant just go take one. There’s no point in telling people you might be pregnant, you’re just worrying people for nothing. Just go spend two dollars and find out for sure.
After Steven hears that he might be a father, he makes this face.
I’m not a big McConaughey fan to begin with, but this scene really made me hate him and his character. I hate his voice and I hate his cartoony face. Getting back on track, Steven decides he can’t handle this Schrodinger’s pregnancy and storms off. Now I know I may have come across as anti-women during that last tirade, but I’m firmly with you ladies on this one. If your boyfriend storms off after finding out you may be pregnant, he’s an asshole.
We then cut to the motel room where Maurice, Rolfe, and Lucy are staying. Nothing happens in these scenes except that Lucy and Maurice flirt before Maurice gets severe stomach ulcers because he’s a little person. I’m not making a joke, that’s actually what Rolfe tells Lucy before storming off because Maurice won’t let him call a doctor.
Rolfe decides to visit his ex-girlfriend Sally, and this is where Tiptoes really starts to go off the rails. First of all, we’re treated to some really basic dialogue.
Sally: “I saw your article in Harper’s about the republicans. You’re becoming very successful.”
Rolfe: “Yeah, well, we need to get syndicated. That’s the ticket.”
Who actually says, “You’re becoming very successful,” in a normal conversation? Also, that response from Rolfe is wholly unnecessary.
Sally then argues with Rolfe over whether or not she has a boyfriend, and we’re treated to the first of this film’s needlessly complex backstories.
“Lighten up Rolfe, god. We aren’t close like that. I let him fuck me twice, okay? I felt sorry for him. His whole family was evicted from their apartment in the Gaza Strip.”
During this speech I threw up my arms and shouted, “What the fuck is going on?” We haven’t met this boyfriend, I barely know Sally, and we’re over twenty minutes into the movie at this point. The only plot-related thing we know is that Steven’s family is little people and his fiance might be pregnant.
We’re then treated to more brilliant dialogue from Sally.
“Come on, Rolfe. I’m ready for an adult relationship.”
It was at this point that I realized what specifically was wrong with so much of this film’s dialogue. It sounds like it was written by children trying to disguise themselves as adults.
An artist’s representation of Tiptoes’ writer, Bill Weiner.
At long last Sally’s boyfriend Adrissi comes in, and he’s just the most ridiculous person ever.
“Alright, I will pay you back. In your G-spot.”
Adrissi eventually discovers Rolfe hiding in Sally’s bedroom and slaps the shit out of Gary Oldman.
The best screenshot I could manage. I blame Amazon’s video player for this one.
After seeing this insanity, I sat long and hard for a while and pondered this slap. My first thought upon watching this was, “What kind of a man slaps another man?” Then I realized that this is a regular sized man vs. a little person. A full on punch would just be horrendous, so is a slap acceptable in this scenario? If the little person fights back with their fists, should you keep tossing back slaps? Throw in your thoughts on this in the comments section below.
At this point the scene devolves into hilarious chaos. Adrissi disregards man on little person fighting norms and just starts punching Maurice. Or rather, he punches the floor next to Maurice.
I know it’s hard to see in the picture, but it could not be any clearer in the movie that Adrissi is punching the floor. It’s ridiculously bad.
It all ends with Bridget the Midget slamming a boombox into Adrissi’s neck.
Then Rolfe storms out, and we cut back to Steven and Carol. Now if you’re anything like me, you’ve completely forgotten that Steven and Carol existed after all that insanity. Seriously, those scenes in the motel and Sally’s house are a huge step out.
So this is the absolute first thing we see after Rolfe storms out from that ridiculousness.
First of all, it’s very jarring. Second of all, you fucking peed on that! Why is it sitting on your coffee?
Carol discovers that she is in fact pregnant, then we finally see what Steven does for a living. Turns out he instructs firefighting cadets out in the wilderness. McConaughey tries to act like the stereotypical tough boot camp instructor, but the script just ends up making him sound ridiculous.
“Not only are you slow, but you suck at it!”
Then it’s back to Carol and Steven’s house, where Rolfe shows up after getting ravaged by Adrissi. Rolfe doesn’t know that Steven is engaged, and Carol doesn’t know that Steven’s family is little people. They quickly straighten out what is going on and start to bond a little, but Rolfe falls asleep about five seconds after sitting on their sofa.
I point this out because: a) no one falls asleep that fast in real life during a conversation & b) Gary Oldman’s head is not even close to a sleeping position.
It’s then back to the motel with Maurice and Lucy. Of course, we’re treated to more of Lucy’s idiotic views on life.
Maurice: “I feel like death.”
Lucy: “That’s great. That’s a great transition.”
Moving on. Turns out that these two idiots have been in the room 3 hours past check-out time. The motel owner pounds on the door and demands that they leave. Now it should be noted that the night before, this owner did call Lucy a prostitute, which isn’t very nice. But these guys have stayed 3 hours past check-out time and are being huge dicks. So we can call it even. I make a point of mentioning this because what does Maurice do when he finds out he’ll be charged for an extra night?
My reaction to this was to shout out, “What the fuck?!” Things just get crazier when Lucy bursts out of the room and starts beating the shit out of the motel owner.
“I’m calling you a prostitute!”
Next we switch over to Steven and his recruits in the wilderness. Carol drives up and starts berating him for never letting her know that his family is composed of midgets. Now this is a very circuitous and boring scene where nothing really happens. It’s just an argument that keeps going back and forth. However, this is where it becomes clear that Carol has a ridiculous problem with the idea of their kid being a midget. Also, she has on a silly hat. But more importantly, this scene has one of my favorite things in this movie.
Steven quietly yet angrily tells Carol not once, not twice, but three times to stop using the word midget.
“Well they’re not midgets, Carol. They’re dwarfs.”
“Carol, don’t say midget. Say dwarf.”
“You keep saying midgets, you’re going to piss a whole bunch of people off.”
I’m cracking up here just watching this scene again. Carol has zero interest in using the right word and Steven just seems so utterly devastated that she refuses to say “dwarf.” It’s magical.
Getting back to plot things, it’s really important to note that we’re a third of the way through the movie. Up until now Steven has shown absolutely zero problems with little people. He goes to the Little People’s Defense League meetings, he clearly loves his family who are little people, and he wants Carol to use the proper terms for them. It’s completely Carol who was problems with little people. This will become important later.
After watching Carol and Steven struggle to work past the horror of having a baby who will be smaller than the average person, we cut back to the best couple in movie history.
Truly the Romeo & Juliet of our time.
So remember how I said that this movie has needlessly complex backstories? Here’s another example of that. After Lucy says that, “My body’s originally from New York,” she finally opens to Maurice about her past. It is one of the most amazing things I have ever heard.
“Well, my ex-old man Jerome, he used to whittle wood jewelry…Then he turned really evil. He was a truck driver and those guys are all on crank and there’s those, you know, transsexual prostitutes that, anyway he flipped out and thought I was an alien walk in.”
I don’t even know what an “alien walk in” is, but I don’t care. That is beautiful.
After that touching moment we cut back to Carol. Rolfe is taking her to meet his uncle, head of the Little Person’s Defense League. Rolfe figures that he can answer Carol’s questions about having a little person. Now I felt that up through a decent portion of this scene, Carol was only being slightly unreasonable. She shouldn’t be throwing the word “midget” around, but I can understand her wanting to know about the struggles that her child might go through. There are many health and social problems that little people have to face. But during the tail end of this meeting with her soon to be family, Carol goes into full bitch mode.
“Here I am questioning whether or not to bring a person into the world who’s just like you.”
Carol decides to follow this up by saying, in front of a group composed entirely of little people, “I just want my kid to have a happy productive life.” That’s messed up.
Now I know I’ve said this before, but this next scene is bizarre. I didn’t want to mention it because I don’t want to hit on all the same points as that Cracked article I linked to, but there’s no way I can ignore this. Basically, Carol calls up Steven and tells him about the lunch she had with his family. I’ll get to how weird the dialogue is in a moment, but first I need to say how oddly this is shot.
For absolutely no reason, all of the shots with Carol are done with extreme close-ups.
Every cut with Carol looks like this.
Nothing like this was done before this scene, and nothing like it is done after. It’s surreal. Adding to the insanity is the fact that Kate Beckinsale reads all her lines like she’s a sex phone worker.
“We went for brunch this afternoon at your uncle’s house. God, they were so nice.” All italicized words have a sexual quiver to them.
This is another turning point in the movie. As I said before, up until now Steven has been firmly pro-little people. Now, for some reason, he starts to hate them. He should be happy that Carol is warming up to his family and becoming open to the idea of having a little person as a child. Instead, he tosses his phone across a field.
As people do in real life all the time.
Next up is a giant party at Steven’s uncle’s house. Rolfe and Carol show up first, but soon Steven enters with a couple of his firefighter students. One of them says, “Sure are a lot of midgets around here.” Carol retorts:
“Actually, it’s little people.”
Glad to see her character is evolving while Steven seems to be losing his freaking mind. Seriously, look at him up there.
Up next comes another of my favorite moments in the film. Steven and Carol head into the kitchen and we hear Maurice screaming at Steven’s uncle. We see that Maurice is wagging his finger in the man’s face, which leads to one of the best visual reveals of all time as the camera shows Lucy standing behind her man.
Nothing about this is less than glorious.
Why is Maurice so upset, you may ask? He thinks that the Little Person’s Defense League isn’t pushing hard enough for little people’s rights. He angrily shouts:
“What you people don’t understand is that political power, it grows out of the barrel of a gun!”
I don’t at all want to downplay the struggles that little people have to deal with, but isn’t that pushing it just a little? I really don’t think violent revolutions are necessary here. Either way, Maurice proudly proclaims he’s a Marxist before storming off, leading to some hilarious reaction shots from the rest of the cast.
So this is where David Allen Grier has sex with Sally, much to Rolfe’s chagrin. No one in the movie or audience cares that much. Let’s move on.
Back at home, Carol and Steven have another heart to heart in bed. Steven is telling Carol that it’s not to late to adopt, which yeah, it kind of is. Carol, much like the audience, wonders why Steve is anti-little person all of a sudden. The best reason that Steven can come up with is that Rolfe dealt with a lot of physical pain as a kid and that little people are prone to a lot of health concerns. Which, yeah, that’s true, but come on.
This scene does lead to one of the best lines in the movie. Carol asks if Steven has ever been with a little person sexually, so Steven says he and some little people got together and played doctor when he was 10 or 12. That seems a little old to be playing doctor, but what do I know, I had a lonely childhood. Maybe I just missed out on that stuff. Anyway, Carol respond to this revelation with this:
“So you had a circle jerk with a bunch of little people? I would have loved to see that.”
This of course leads to some sexy time. But before Carol and Steven can move beyond kissing, Carol suggests that Steven see a therapist to move past his sudden issues with little people. Steven flips out and storms out of the house. Again.
The next day or whenever Carol and Steven finally get the future in-laws together. Steven’s parents are incredibly nice, but Carol’s parents look like they’ve seen a ghost when they meet them.
Can you blame them for being prejudiced? This was a long time ago, all the way back in 2003.
While Carol’s mother remains so shocked she literally can’t speak, her father starts getting along with the in-laws despite being completely insane.
Seriously, this guy is fucking nuts.
Carol’s mother can’t stand it anymore and finally voices her concerns about Steven’s family. After all this build-up, it turns out that she was only worried about her daughter having an orthodox Jewish wedding. Everyone has a good laugh as I just roll my eyes.
We then cut to the wedding. It’s a small ceremony in a park, and a little bit away Maurice and Lucy are watching from a picnic blanket. I know I say this all the time, but the reveal of these two sitting together is probably the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. Why?
Peter Dinklage has braided his hair like Lucy.
My life is complete now.
There’s also a quick shot of Sally leaning her head on Rolfe’s shoulder, but literally no one cares at all. I’m not even going to show you guys the picture I took of it just out of spite.
Immediately after the wedding, we cut to Carol and Steven in the delivery room. Carol has just given birth to their son Vincent, although you wouldn’t tell it from looking at them.
She just shoved a person out of her. How do you look worse, Steven?
The doctor (obviously played by a little person) comes in and breaks the news that their son is a dwarf. Carol asks if Steve is okay with this, and we have the fastest cut possible to Steve punching a humongous hole in the hospital’s wall.
These images are literally one frame apart.
Again, it needs to be said there’s no clear reason Steven is so upset. For the first half of this movie he was completely fine with dwarves. Now he’s furious at the idea of his son being one. Things just get worse in the next scene. Carol is trying to soothe their crying baby, saying that he’s in pain because of “his condition.” Steven chases her through the house screaming that she needs to admit what his condition is.
This whole sequence is bizarre. I don’t know why Carol won’t admit what her child’s condition is. I don’t know if it’s some sort of denial or if she simply enjoys saying the phrase “his condition” more than “his dwarfness.” It’s still unclear why Steven seems to hate his child, and I just don’t have the energy anymore to figure it out.
Steven: “He’s a dwarf!”
Carol: “He’s a baby and you’re scaring him!”
Me: “None of these statements are inaccurate.”
Eventually Steven admits that this is too hard. He thinks that Carol and Vincent will be better off if he abandons them for a while, which makes perfect sense. Carol is surprisingly okay with this idea.
Eventually Carol can’t handle things on her own and goes to stay with Rolfe at his cabin for a while. Maurice and Lucy are also there, but they quickly break up and are never heard from again. Rolfe helps Carol care for the baby and they grow a bit closer. Eventually Steven comes to visit his son for about three minutes.
He and Carol have another conversation that makes no sense. Steven wants to show how much he cares for his son, but Carol insists that Vincent has to come first. You may realize that this is the exact same thing, but the characters don’t. Steven storms off and Carol hopes he can fix himself one day. Again, she doesn’t seem to mind that her husband is a complete lunatic who is abandoning their family.
The movie ends shortly thereafter with Rolfe and Carol staring up at the stars. She quickly says:
“You can kiss me if you want.”
This is Kate Beckinsale, so of course Rolfe does. They make out and this piece of shit ends.
As usual, I don’t know what to say. This movie makes no sense. Halfway through the movie Carol and Steven switch positions on little people for no reason. Maurice and Lucy do nothing except act insane and abruptly break up in the finale. The character of Sally plays absolutely no purpose. Also, in a film with dozens of little people extras, I have no idea why Gary Oldman was chosen to play the lead little person role. Nothing makes sense here.
Should you watch it? I guess. It’s not as consistently funny as the other bad movies I’ve reviewed, but I definitely cracked up a few times, mostly thanks to Peter Dinklage. If you want another look at this movie before watching, I suggest you check out Daniel Tosh’s review.
Tiptoes gets 7 / 10 Cages – Amusingly Peculiar