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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



Orange County
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by Laura Kyle

"If apples are the expected teen flicks, then this is definitely an orange."
4 stars

I was perfectly happy to opt out on an Orange County ticket stub when it entered the theatre a few years ago, and it wasn’t like I intended to catch it on the tube either – it just came on after "South Park." But I’m sure glad it did.

Colin Hanks, yes – Tom Hanks Jr., finally gets his first big movie! I’m sure the old man is proud too, because little Hanks pulls off quite an original performance in a film that didn’t really require one, but a film that is made all the better because of it.

But he’s not the only reason Orange County is such an enjoyable experience – writer Mike White (“Freaks and Geeks,” The Good Girl, School of Rock), who also lends his acting chops to about a minute of the movie’s running time (and a very funny minute is indeed), manages to make characters that are hugely appropriate for the “teen comedy” genre, but aren’t hopelessly trapped under clichés or an absurd plot demanding they act in ways contrary to ordinary behavior.

Our protagonist Shaun (Hanks) is your typical high school senior eyeing an Ivy League university – his guidance counselor (Lily Tomlin) is so impressed with his good grades and outstanding reputation, she advises him to apply to his school of choice: Stanford, without even considering a backup. So he does. Don’t ever listen to your high school guidance counselor.

Not only does she give him less than sage advice, but she also sends Stanford the wrong transcript (one that boasts a 2.5 GPA and an SAT score ranging in the 900’s), on behalf of Shaun, thus spoiling his chances of admission.

So the rest of Orange County revolves around Shaun trying to squeeze himself into his dream college so he can then pursue his dream job: writing.

But his flaky mother (Catherine O’Hara), perpetually high brother (Jack Black), MIA father (John Lithgow), and slacker friends, make that a borderline impossible feat. Luckily, he has the support of girlfriend Ashley (Schuyler Fisk), who is a surprising character – in that she isn’t just there to look pretty and complicate the plot. She has a realistic personality: imagine that?

The predicament Shaun finds himself in is not necessarily one for the ages, but the dialogue, something usually expendable in a flick like this, is actually memorable, and so are the characters. I’m not sure if there’s enough setup for the “moral” lesson in the end, but everything up to that was more than entertaining.

If you haven’t noticed that Orange County is jam-packed with well-established, quality stars, then shame on you! I’m sure you’ll recognize their faces, though, if not their names.

And none of them seem to be going through the motions just to get in on the cameo-action or to do a favor for someone they may want to gain favor with (like the lead’s father, ahem). Every one of them is perfect and never once sidetracks Orange County with his or her star power, because they’re just that good and just that humble enough to let the younger kids take to the wheel and not be backseat drivers.

Yeah, there's a person who accidentally ingests some sort of drug (ecstasy seems to be latest one that screenwriters are obsessed with) and it's as overdone as it is funny, and I’m sure in 2002, when Orange County was first released, it was even funnier. While there are the few “let’s make a joke for the 15-year-old boys in the audience” moments like the one above, which only lower a movie’s IQ, there’s enough wit and intelligent humor in Orange County to render it a worthy rental.

If one gets too caught up in the uninspired plot or the cheap gags, they’ll miss out on some great scenes: including a hilarious one involving a very stoned Jack Black driving down the highway with Shaun. There’s actually some serious nuance going on in this scene, if you can imagine. But don’t imagine – go rent Orange County.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=5703&reviewer=369
originally posted: 02/01/05 17:12:31
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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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