Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary by writer Mike White and
director Jake Kasdan; Deleted scenes with optional commentary
track; 15 interstitials; Theatrical trailer.
ORANGE County may sound like your average teen rights-of-passage
movie, but peel away its layers and there is much more within.
For starters, it has been put together by a cast and director
who would seem destined for great things (we'll explain why in
a moment), it features a wealth of cameos (Ben Stiller and Kevin
Kline, to name but two) and its trailer offers the welcome possibility
of seeing Jack Black back on High
Fidelity form (after his disappointment with Shallow
But as enjoyable as it is in places, the movie never really escapes
the feeling that it would best be appreciated after a few beers
on a Saturday night, when its infantile, laddish behaviour will
strike a chord with its target audience.
Pity then, that it largely squanders the potential of its main
performers, for the movie is directed by Jake Kasdan - whose impressive
debut feature, the little known Zero Effect, had critics drooling,
and who happens to be the son of Laurence - and its two central
stars are Colin Hanks, son of Tom, and Schuyler Fisk, daughter
of Oscar-nominee Sissy Spacek.
The plot concerns Hanks's attempts to get into Yale and thereby
escape his dysfunctional family. The placement seems certain at
the start of the film, given the student's high IQ, but an administration
error prompts his refusal and Hanks is forced to travel there
himself - with girlfriend and screw-up brother in tow - to plead
his case before it is too late.
So far, so Road Trip. And yet, there really is nothing more to
it, save for trying to guess where the next cameo is coming from
and counting down the minutes to the realisation that Hanks's
family isn't so bad after all and that true love will conquer
Orange County is really a banana-skin of a movie. From its
trailer, it looks fairly appetising and there are moments when
it fulfils its criteria.
But it eventually slips up under the weight of its own expectation.
Hanks is not endearing enough to carry the film alone, while
Black's best moments are contained in the trailer.
The cameos are fun and there are plenty of movie in-jokes for
the keener observer, but on the whole you get the feeling that
this could have been a great deal better. It is, in the final
analysis, strictly lightweight fare.
SOUNDTRACK SPOTLIGHT: The soundtrack, featuring the
likes of Defy You (by Offspring), The One (Foo Fighters), Butterfly
(Crazytown), Everything's Cool (Lit), and California (Phantom
Planet), as well as material from Pete Yorn, Cake and Sugarbomb,
is well worth a listen.
It taps into the sun-drenched, Californian surfer-dude culture