Orange County

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner5/11/2002

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 82 mins

Decent enough teen comedy that works largely due to its eclectic cast of characters, though the chances are you’ll only remember Jack Black.

Jake ‘Son of Lawrence’ Kasdan has taken a considerable amount of time to follow his original first feature, the 1998 cult detective movie Zero Effect. For Orange County, he’s collaborated with screenwriter Mike 'Chuck & Buck' White and the result, while not quite as good as its pedigree suggests, is still an enjoyable comedy with likeable characters.

Death By Giant Wave

The story is simple. Colin ‘Son of Tom’ Hanks is Shaun Brumder, an Orange County 'surfer dude' who has a major re-think about his life after his friend is killed chasing A Giant Wave. He finds a book buried in the sand and, as books are wont to do, it changes his life.

He applies to Stanford to do English, only a cock-up occurs – thanks to Lily Tomlin’s dippy counsellor - and he gets rejected. So his cute-but-not-gorgeous girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk, daughter of Sissy Spacek), his wacko family (drunken Mother Catherine O'Hara, Angry Dad John Lithgow and loose cannon screw-up stoner brother Jack Black) try and help him get in. A road trip is involved. And that’s more or less it.

Numerous Celebrity Cameos

The film is packed with celebrity cameos (to the point where seeing the words "Chevy Chase" appear on the screen comes as something of a shock, though fear not, he’s not in it for long), some of which are pretty funny, particularly long-time Kasdan associate Kevin Kline’s appearance as the book’s author.

Acting-wise, Hanks makes a good 'everyman' lead (gee, wonder who he gets it from?), although Black completely steals the film from him at every opportunity. Be warned: you will be all too intimately acquainted with the sight of Jack Black’s arse by the end of this movie…

Writing Is Gay

The script is patchy in places, but does throw up the odd decent one-liner, as well as the following amusing exchange between Shaun and his father:

Hanks: "Dad. I want to be a writer."
Lithgow: "No you don't. All writers are gay. Name three writers who aren't gay."
Hanks: "Stephen King. John Grisham. Anne Rice."

Thankfully, the gross-out humour is kept to a minimum, at least in the scenes that don’t involve Black. It also has the requisite ‘hip’ soundtrack for da kidz, although, given the fact that the film was meant to come out over six months ago, it’s probably out of date by now…

In short, though there are no real belly laughs or any Farrelly-like set pieces, this is still a better than average comedy, thanks to its witty script and its amusing collection of characters. Worth watching.

Film Trailer

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Content updated: 22/02/2020 16:48

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