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Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.39%
Worth A Look53.16%
Average: 21.52%
Pretty Bad: 8.86%
Total Crap: 5.06%

6 reviews, 43 user ratings

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Orange County
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by EricDSnider

"It's from MTV Films, and yet it's not insulting. Someone will be fired."
4 stars

You can tell “Orange County” is from MTV Films because the rock soundtrack barely stops for a minute, there’s a lot of drinking and drug use among the teen-age characters, and someone inadvertently almost ingests a cup of urine. The MTV Films affiliation becomes less clear when you realize how enjoyable the movie is.

It’s about an Orange County, Calif., high school student named Shaun (Colin Hanks) who has been inspired by a Stanford professor-turned-novelist Marcus Skinner (Kevin Kline) to renounce surfing and become a writer. His goal: Get into Stanford and study under Skinner.

Alas, a mix-up with his transcripts causes Shaun to be rejected. His alcoholic mother (Catherine O’Hara), stoner brother (Jack Black) and absentee father (John Lithgow), rather than helping him, merely give him more incentive to leave home. His girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk) is supportive but rather useless. His surfer friends ... well, forget about it.

So for a while, the film is all farce and no brains as we follow Shaun’s efforts to get into Stanford. He tries cozying up to a schoolmate’s grandparents, who are on the board; he tries visiting the dean of admissions at home; he tries a lot of more unusual things than that. And it is funny. Jack Black and Catherine O’Hara give all-out performances and make dumb lines better. There are amusing cameos from an impressive array of stars, including Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, Garry Marshall and Ben Stiller, some of whom appear literally in only scene apiece.

Then the film decides not to leave well enough alone and goes a different route, turning into a lesson about the importance of home and family. It is considerably less funny, and given the aforementioned urine jokes, we’re not liable to be in the mood for poignancy now anyway. What I thought was merely a brief tangent turned out to be a long tangent, and then to be a different direction altogether. The “I’ll get into Stanford if it’s the last thing I do” theme may not have been brilliant, but at least it was funny.

Putting aside the wrong turns near the end, “Orange County” winds up with more pluses than minuses. The performances are amiable and committed, and the comedy more often than not hits the bullseye.

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originally posted: 01/11/02 07:06:07
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User Comments

10/08/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Movie! 5 stars
10/08/07 KNurse This is Jack Black at his best....burn the mother down!LMAO 4 stars
9/29/07 Derek Entertaining, Engaging and Funny. Well Worth Watching. A Fine Teen Movie. 4 stars
7/22/07 dt not much new here, not really funny 2 stars
3/30/07 fools♫gold "Graduate"-inspired teen comedy that finally deserves the title "comedy". Rounds up to 5/5. 5 stars
11/18/06 AJ Muller very funny flick; the cast/direction rocks and the script is pitch-perfect. 4 stars
1/14/06 WiseMan This deserves a higher rating, i loved this movie, i watched it 10 times 5 stars
1/03/06 cody jack black is only thing funny about this retarded and corny comedy 2 stars
8/18/05 John Aster Habig Hilarious comedy about teenage ambition plus the white/black team is magic 5 stars
6/02/05 JFK great comedy, hillarious. Jack Black rules! 4 stars
3/26/05 Denise funny 3 stars
2/19/05 april gupton real good, funny 4 stars
2/14/05 Angela Saunders Some funny scenes, defninitely a movie for Black fans. 3 stars
2/09/05 Kelly Greenwood boring 1 stars
2/03/05 Clifford C Gardner Better than I expected 4 stars
2/02/05 Tammera Mack okay 4 stars
4/04/03 Hannah I loved it. 5 stars
1/04/03 Annoymous quite good 4 stars
1/03/03 Sommersby Brightly acted; underwhelmingly rendered. 2 stars
12/30/02 John Aster Habig a story hope and hopelessness Black and Hanks work terrificly together 5 stars
10/27/02 MarktheShark6 Jack Black was awesome, but the story was bad and so were the other actors. 3 stars
10/07/02 Ashley Boring. More of Jack Black would have made it better. To say the least...IT SUCKED! 2 stars
9/29/02 Peter Sherlock Total wank. Dull as shit. 1 stars
8/27/02 Judd Hughes Makes 80s teen movies look like 'Citizen Kane'. 3 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) Lots of fun. Out of all the stars, Jack Black is hands-down the greatest; the next Belushi. 4 stars
8/14/02 Bryan Brooks Even J.B. cant save this one. Just not funny at all. 2 stars
8/06/02 Fish Eye Underated movie. Not only is it funny, but it's also a good move. Jack Black is hilarious 4 stars
6/26/02 Film Guy Surprisingly a good funny film 4 stars
6/20/02 spyguy2 Not as good as I hoped...looking forward to Shallow Hal, that has got to be funnier right? 3 stars
3/23/02 Natalie Stonecipher Seems like a Farrelly wannabe. Cute at times, ultimately taking self a bit too seriously. 4 stars
1/21/02 none funny movie...when jack black was pretty sappy at times...but jack black was funny 4 stars
1/19/02 The Bomb 69 funny and well written, good but not great 4 stars
1/18/02 bobo justus the 5 santa ana fwy from anaheim to like tustin is always congested! 2 stars
1/17/02 kishuta Simple, yet well performed. 4 stars
1/16/02 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Gee, do you think amovie can be made without celebrity kids? 2 stars
1/15/02 Marcus Skinner A movie that portrays some simple yet oft-overlooked values in life. Plus Jack Black!!!!!!! 5 stars
1/15/02 willyp even stoners will not chuckle. i am not hard to please! 1 stars
1/14/02 J I might give it a 5 in the future, but right now I'll go with M.F and Eric on giving it a 4 4 stars
1/14/02 bobbuttons jack black is fucking awesome 5 stars
1/13/02 Wee Funny ass movie! 5 stars
1/11/02 Joe The review is spot on. A very funny movie. 4 stars
1/09/02 Robert Surprisingly humorous and clever, if a bit cheesy at the end. Jack Black steals the show. 4 stars
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  11-Jan-2002 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Jake Kasdan

Written by
  Mike White

  Colin Hanks
  Jack Black
  Chevy Chase
  John Lithgow
  Lily Tomlin
  Harold Ramis

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