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Overall Rating
3.57

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 Brian McKay

"Nepotism, Incorporated"
3 stars

Look, nothing personal against Colin Hanks and Schuyler Fisk. He seems like a nice enough and fairly intelligent kid, and she's a very cute and likeable girl. But c'mon. Are we really expected to believe that they would be headlining their own movie even if they weren't the offspring of famous people (Tom Hanks, Sissy Spaceck). I mean, just because they are likeable enough, are we expected to actually think they can act? I think Jack Black said it best in his interview on Howard Stern - "I don't envy those two a bit. Look at the expectations they gotta try and live up to." By the same token, I don't suppose that being the son of Lawrence Kasdan has hurt director Jake Kasdan's career any. But while his direction is competent enough here, this is certainly a far cry from his work on his excellent first film, "The Zero Effect"

But then, this is an MTV film, so solid acting and genious directing are not really pre-requisites. What you do have to have, however, are a lot of nubile young cheerleaders screaming things like "OMIGOD" and jumping up and down, stoned guys saying things like "Bro" and "dude" while making homo jokes about each other, and of course a really annoying soundtrack that cuts in after about every 30 seconds of dialouge, especially that goddamn "Come milady, come come milady" song by those one hit wonder no-talent fucks "Crazy Town", which has got to be the most overplayed piece of soundtrack trash since Smashmouth's "All Star" (and it rears its ugly head in this film not once or twice, but THREE times).

But in spite of all that, this film did surpass my expectations (which were admittedly quite low). Colin and Schyler, while no oscar-winning big guns like their parents, are just so cute you can't help but like them. Jack Black does what he does best, play the stoned idiot, and as usual he excels at it. Thankfully, he isn't over-utilized in this film. His parts are kept just small and infrequent enough to be consistently fresh and funny, and leave you wanting for more. The most pleasant surprise, however, comes from the adult side of the cast. John Lithgow and Catherine O'hara are funny as always, playing the dysfunctional parents, Harold Ramis is hysterical as the Stanford Dean of Admissions who inadvertently takes speed, and Ben Stiller and Kevin Kline have some small but worthwhile cameos. Chevy Chase also has a brief and unfunny bit which is quickly forgotten (but not quickly enough -Why the fuck does anyone bother putting him in anything anymore?).

The strory revolves around Shaun Bumbner (Hanks), a bored rich kid who surfs and gets high a lot, skates through school but still manages to get good grades, and has a cute girlfriend, Ashley (Fisk) who adores him. Sure, his parents are a little fucked up, but hey, tough life, eh?

Anyway, Shaun finds a book on the beach one day that changes his life, and he decides he's going to be a writer. He wants to go to Stanford so that he can take classes from the guy who wrote the book, and hopefully adopt him as a mentor. Alas, his plans to get in are foiled time and time again when the wrong SAT scores are sent to the school under his name, and he has to try to clear up the misunderstanding while trying to undo the damage that has been done by incompetent school counselors, meddling parents, and his well meaning but idiotic brother, Lance (Black). There are some pretty funny parts, most of them involving Black, although all of the major players contribute their fair share of laughs as well. But it's hard to really care much about a character as bland as Shaun, or feel sorry for him when the rejection letter from Stanford arrives. Add to that the big, sappy, "Home is where the heart is" ending, and the whole thing just fizzles out.

I suppose the laughter to suckiness quotient is just enough in its favor to make "Orange County" viewable once. And it is a notch above the usual tripe we get from MTV films - but it's not a very big notch. Let's just hope that We won't see young Colin sitting on a park bench in a white suit a few years from now, starring in "Son of Gump." Oh, and Mr. Kasdan Junior? How's about another Darryl Zero adventure?

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5703&reviewer=258
originally posted: 01/16/02 17:23:19
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User Comments

10/08/08 Shaun Wallner Funny Movie! 5 stars
6/14/08 PAUL SHORTT DERIVATIVE, TIRESOME AND VERY UNFUNNY 1 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 on...got 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
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  11-Jan-2002 (PG-13)

UK
  N/A

Australia
  22-Aug-2002


Directed by
  Jake Kasdan

Written by
  Mike White

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



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