In 2003, a movie was released with such a ridiculous premise, such an outlandish plot, that one would assume it had some redeeming qualities. I assumed that it would be one of those movies that was so weird, so utterly idiotic, and so utterly stupid, that it would almost certainly have to be entertaining. If I was a betting man, I'd owe Ben Franklin an iPod, because this movie is absolutely terrible.
Seemingly written, produced, and cast purely on a bet, like Scottish cuisine, Matthew Bright's TipToes "stars" Matthew McConaughey, Kate Beckinsale, Gary Oldman, Peter Dinklage, and Patricia Arquette. Sounds like a pretty good cast, right? Oh, that's what we thought, too. Anything with Gary Oldman simply must have something good about it. Again, I think this is based on dares or bets or blackmail; Gary Oldman plays a dwarf named Rolfe, who is the twin brother of Steven (Matthew McConaughey), who is not a dwarf. Kate Beckinsale plays Steven's girlfriend Carol, who didn't know Steven's family was all dwarfs until the movie. What's more, she's totally pregnant with his child, and she's (I'm serious) deadly concerned the baby might be a dwarf. You know what's weirder? Steven, who grew up with dwarfs and goes to annual conventions, is dead-set against the baby, again because of the fear it will be a dwarf. So she gets to know his family, may or may not fall in love with Rolfe (it's never clear), and SPOILER ALERT the baby is in fact born a dwarf.
At first (nothing against little people), I thought the movie must be spun as something of a comedy. But it's as melodramatic as an emo Nicholas Sparks after being stood up at the prom. They fight, they yell, they scream at each other, and they seem to have had entire discussions about starting a family where it never once occurs to Steven that his genetic proclivities may produce a dwarf. Also, I apologize if I'm using any un-PC variations here; I can never remember the rules. I suppose I should switch to "little person."
In addition to the "story," the other cinematic features of this "film" are questionable. The editing is haphazard and most often abrupt. Transitions are nonexistent or nonsensical. It never quite seems to do what you expect it, but in a jarring, alarming way. Many of the shots are set up awkwardly to accommodate Gary Oldman's costume; they use some fairly poor tricks to make it appear as though he's a little person.
The characters are all vaguely uninteresting, fairly flat, largely underdeveloped, and licking in common motivation. Often times, they do, say, and react in ways that make no sense at all. Coupled with a plot that rapidly deteriorates into pure melodrama and unrelenting conflict, with an incredibly dissatisfying hackneyed ending that completely refused to actually resolve anything, or complete even a coherent thought. It just simply ... ends.
Apparently this film debuted at Sundance, and I can't imagine it received any rave reviews, awards, etc. The rumor is that Oldman was the driver of the project and wanted to play this dwarf character. Although in general he's a fantastic actor, even he couldn't save this abysmal production. Up to this point, Matthew Bright had only directed odd action/comedy films (Freeway, Freeway II, and Bundy), so this serious, romantic drama seemed a bit beyond him.
If you see this film and think "wow, that may just be wacky enough to be good," or "hey, this may be funny, it's extremely not what you think. It may be entertaining if you're drunk, but I highly doubt it. I wouldn't even really recommend this film out of morbid curiosity.
I give Tiptoes a well-deserved one obviously fake and laughably unconvincing dwarf Gary Oldman out of five, or one painfully awkward series of events, plot points, and the stilted dialogue of Anne Rice fan-fiction out of five. Did that last one make sense? Doesn't matter; this movie didn't.