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Film / Tiny Tiptoes

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Tiny Tiptoes (better known by the title Tiptoes) is a 2003 drama film that deals with a woman coming to terms with the fact that her boyfriend's family are little people, and her shock when she learns their child (which she becomes pregnant with) may be a little person as well.

Steven (Matthew McConaughey) and Carol (Kate Beckinsale) are in a loving relationship and plan to get married, but things change quickly when she discovers that she's pregnant, prompting Steven to reveal that his family are little people. After she meets his relatives, including his twin brother Rolfe (Gary Oldman), Carol is torn between whether or not to abort her child, all while she begins to learn more about little people culture. At the same time, Rolfe and his best friend, Maurice (Peter Dinklage), campaign for the rights of little people at various conventions.

The film was directed by Matthew Bright, formerly of Oingo Boingo and also known for his film Freeway. Due to a tumultuous production, the film was never released theatrically and instead went direct-to-DVD.

This film provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Several subplots in the film were dropped, likely as a result of the film being re-edited from its original cut due to executive demands.
    • The subplot involving Rolfe and his on-again, off-again girlfriend gets dropped and has no effect on the film. Similarly, Maurice disappears during the final act (after Lucy leaves him) without any real explanation.
    • There are also hints that Steven may be having an affair with one of his students that appears briefly but this is never referred to again.
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: Carol attempts to do this in the beginning with Steven (by kneeling down and unzipping his pants), but he rebuffs her before leaving for his convention.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The film (and characters) claims that Steven and Carol's baby automatically has dwarfism due to Steven's lineage, and this is the conclusion she reaches after researching dwarf birth rates. However, this is incorrect. The most common form of dwarfism (known as "achondroplasia") can only be inherited if either parent has it, which is obviously not the case. For the less common forms of inheritable dwarfism, it is only possible to have a child with it if both parents' families have a history of dwarfism, and the film does not show Carol's family to have such a history. In fact, Steve being the only average-sized individual from a family of little people makes it overwhelmingly likely that he did not inherit any genes for dwarfism, and therefore has a next-to-nothing chance of having a child with it.
    • The film's whole premise also fall under this category as dwarfism is extremely rare and many people with it are usually the only people in their biological lineage with the condition and often have children without the condition with no issue. The inverse of the film's premise, one dwarf in a family without the condition, is closer to the real experience for many.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Oddly inverted. During the hospital scene, Carol looks no worse for wear, despite having just delivered a child. Steven, meanwhile, looks about as grimy and disheveled as possible.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Steven leaves Carol due to his inability to cope with the fact that their son has dwarfism, and she and the child stay as guests at Rolfe's cabin. However, the ending indicates that Steven's getting help and he parts with Carol and Rolfe on good terms. Also, Carol starts a new relationship with Rolfe.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Dinklage's performance as Maurice (a Marxist anarchist with a penchant for free-love and defending the rights of little people) frequently delves into this, as he delivers his lines with reckless abandon and/or threatens other characters.
  • Discriminate and Switch: An interesting variation of this from the families' meeting regarding the wedding. Carol's parents seem shocked at the revelation that Steven's family consists of little people, and then start talking about not wanting to seem like they're being discriminatory... because one of the grandfathers is a devout follower of Judaism and as such, asked if they may have a Jewish wedding.
  • Forced Perspective: Done poorly with Gary Oldman. Compare and contrast with The Lord of the Rings, the third of which was released the same year as this film and did the same thing to much greater effect.
  • Hero of Another Story: The characters of Maurice and Lucy make more sense and are more entertaining when you imagine that they're the stars of a separate romantic comedy that only occasionally intersect with the film we're watching.
  • Improvised Weapon: Sally bashes her new boyfriend over the head with a boombox to stop him from attacking Rolfe.
  • Informed Ability: Early on, it is revealed that Rolfe is a writer for Harper's Bazaar (during his conversation with Sally), but none of his work is ever shown on-screen and no one besides Sally ever comments on his career.
  • Insistent Terminology: Steven initially corrects Carol's use of the term "midget" multiple times by telling her to refer to them as "dwarves". She eventually adopts this mindset midway through the film and begins insisting upon the usage when other people make the same mistake.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Played with. Maurice is initially fine with Rolfe sleeping in the same room when he attempts to put the moves on Lucy, but when Rolfe goes to take a shower and Maurice goes in for a kiss, his ulcers act up and he's forced to stop. Rolfe then ruins the mood by telling Lucy about the medical conditions dwarves face.
  • Jerkass: Steven becomes this after their child is born and revealed as having dwarfism.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer for the film plays it up as a wacky, light-hearted comedy about dwarfism, but the film is decidedly more serious.
  • Noodle Incident: Lucy's explanation of how she ended up halfway across the country after leaving New York.
    “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.”
  • Parent with New Paramour: Carol becomes this at the end of the film, as she begins a relationship with Rolfe after Steven abandons her and their child.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Maurice and Lucy, who (as noted above) appear to be in a completely different film than the main characters, which they only occasionaly interact with.
  • Really Gets Around: Sally, to the point that it's a Running Gag. She not only cheats on Rolfe twice during the film, but it's said in dialogue that the couple have a very turbulent on-again, off-again relationship that's always derailed by her sleeping with someone else.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • Steven abandons Carol and his child after he can't come to grips with her inability to admit that the child has dwarfism.
    • Lucy leaves Maurice after his political ramblings become too much for her to handle.
  • Trash the Set: Steven punches a hole in the wall of the delivery room after Carol gives birth to their child.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Rolfe and Maurice are said to be best friends, but their camaraderie is, at the very least, incredibly strained. Rolfe has no problem calling the latter out on his problems and medical ailments in front of Lucy (a woman the latter is trying to seduce), and Maurice in turn repeatedly acts belligerent around him, even in social situations. This leads to Rolfe having to pull the latter away from his cousin (the head of the Little People's Justice League) and call him out for ranting to the latter about the rights of little people.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Midway through the film, Steven brings two of his firefighter trainees to the little people party. After the party ends, Steven leaves with Carol and Rolfe, without mentioning the trainees, leaving their whereabouts unknown. This is notable for the fact that's Steven specifically took the trainees from their camp (which was a day's drive away from his house) and seemingly left them with no way to get back.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Everyone calls Steven out for re-considering his relationship with Lucy in light of her imminent pregnancy, and especially after he bails on her after she gives birth.

Alternative Title(s): Tiptoes