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Orange County

Comedy movie directed by Jake Kasdan

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How I got into College despite my family.

  • Jan 9, 2002
  • by
Pros: Hanks and Black are good, some good laughs.

Cons: Short, and nothing new.

The Bottom Line: Funny in parts but not original. Black and Hanks are solid.

Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Who can ever forget the joys and hassles of selecting a college? There are the S.A.T scores, the grades to maintain, the list of clubs and activities, and the constant dealings with a guidance counselor. The funny thing about guidance counselors, is the concern that if they are really such experts on colleges and how to get in the right college, then how did they end up in such a position?

After all of the forms have been filled out, applications mailed, and interviews and visits completed, then comes the dreaded task of waiting for an acceptance to the college that will mark ones transition into adulthood, and provide an education and experiences that will shape ones future and develop a person into whom they are to become.

In the new film "Orange County" viewers are introduced to Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks), a Straight A student who has developed a love of writing following the surfing death of a freind. A chance finding of a book by a noted author at Stanford has given Shaun the direction he has looked for, and he wants nothing more than to attend Stanford and study writing under the author who inspired him. Shaun's guidance counselor (Lily Tomlin), tells him that he is certain to get into Stanford, and that he does not need to apply to any other schools. The days of waiting pass, and Shauan is shocked when he is rejected for admission. A quick check of the facts uncovers that the school sent Stanford the wrong transcripts, and Shaun is determined to get into the school.

Sadly for Shaun, his family is in the way. By calling in a favor, Shaun;s girlfriend Ashley(Schuyler Fisk), sets up a meeting with a member of Stanfords admissions board. In one of the funniest scenes in recent memory, things go badly from this point on. Shaun's mother is drunk, and spills all of her venom over Shauns father (John Lithgow), who left her for a younger woman. Shaun;s stoned surfer buddies show up un announced, and worse yet, brother Lance (Jack Black), arrives clad only in his underwear looking for a urine sample for his probabtion officer to avoid jail.

If this was not bad enough events follow that make a bad situation even worse, and Shaun, Ashley, and Lance head to Stanford in a last ditch effort to fix the damage that has been done.

What follows is some predictable but at times entertaining adventures, where Shaun has to question what he wants in life, and discover the things that matter to him and inspire him. While not a deep story, the film has some funny moments and Black and Hanks are very good in their roles despite having limited material to work with. The film is not very long so I would suggest seeing it during the day when it is cheaper or waiting for a video.

3 stars out of 5

Gareth Von Kallenbach


Suitability For Children: Suitable for Children Age 13 and Older

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More Orange County reviews
review by . January 30, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Inspiration comes in many different forms. Some people see a painting and are inspired to become artists. For some the right song could give them the courage to ask a girl they love out on a date. Or if you're name is Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks, and yes, he's the son of Tom Hanks) you find inspiration in a book lying in the sand on the beach. This book, written by famous author Marcus Skinner (who does not appear to have an official website according to Google), gives Shaun the inspiration he needs …
About the reviewer
Gareth Von Kallenbach ()
I am a syndicated movie & game critic, writer, author and frequent radio guest. My work has appeared in over 60 publications worldwide and he is the creator of the rising entertainment site "Skewed … more
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About this movie


While it invites charges of Hollywood nepotism,Orange Countyovercomes that stigma with a delightful cast of newcomers and veterans alike. It's no better or worse than many teen comedies, but director Jake Kasdan (son of director Lawrence Kasdan) astutely combines teen-flick staples (stoner gags, raucous parties) with a biting undercurrent of southern California absurdity. This comedic texture helps Colin Hanks (son of Tom) and Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek) to prove their big-screen promise. They play (respectively) an Orange County teen and aspiring writer named Shaun who yearns for admission to Stanford, and his sensible girlfriend who knows just how to nurture his dreams. Much of the comedy arises from the foibles of Shaun's dysfunctional family (played to perfection by Jack Black, Catherine O'Hara, and John Lithgow), while unbilled cameos by Ben Stiller and Kevin Kline add zest to a movie that tries to be different, and mostly succeeds.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Jake Kasdan
Genre: Comedy
Screen Writer: Mike White
DVD Release Date: June 18, 2002
Runtime: 82 minutes
Studio: Paramount
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