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The Oranges - DVD Review

The Oranges

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

THE Oranges may boast a top drawer cast but peel away the skin and it’s a disappointingly shallow affair.

Directed by Julian Farino, a veteran of TV shows such as Entourage and Big Love, the film suffers from predictable plotting, an unsuccessful mix of comedy and drama and a dearth of characters to like. That it plays out like the sort of suburban tale we can all relate to only makes it worse.

Nina (Leighton Meester) is a teen temptress whose arrival back home for Christmas tests the relationship between her parents (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney) and their best friends and neighbours (Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener), especially when Nina and David (Laurie) embark on an affair.

Farino’s film is designed to offer a portrait of family dysfunction where picture perfect isn’t quite what it seems. While rich, successful and comfortable in their suburban homes, life is far from idyllic.

For starters, Laurie and Keener’s couple have drifted apart and are silently keeping up appearances until Meester’s Nina finally gives him the sexual attention he craves.

While the ensuing relationship between the two of them stress tests the marriage between Platt and Janney, the former of which must decide between his best friend’s happiness and his sense of what’s right, as well as an inability to make himself heard.

All this should have made for a riveting comedy drama but the plotting is so contrived and the ironies so over emphasised that the film quickly frustrates.

To make matters worse, none of the characters are remotely worth rooting for, leading to the feeling that they all have the traumas the script throws at them coming.

The performances are merely OK as a result, with the odd barbed line to make you smirk, but that’s scant reward for a film that promises so much more than it ultimately delivers.

Certificate: 12A
Running time: 90mins
UK DVD Release: April 29, 2013