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Orange County More at IMDbPro »

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57 out of 71 people found the following review useful:

Very good

Author: Lady_Jessica from Canada
16 December 2003

I must say, I really enjoyed "Orange County." It's not a truly important cinematic masterpiece, but what were you expecting--"Gone With the Wind"? This movie is a lot of fun and I never get sick of it. Jack Black plays the brother absolutely wonderfully. He cracked me up about 90 times throughout the movie.

Overall, a very enjoyable, fun movie. Watch it if you want to kill some time.

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30 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

New age teen comedy that knocks it out of the park.

Author: Sean102218 from Los Angeles, CA
18 May 2004

Orange County is a predictable, new age teen comedy. Then why is it so great?

Southern California surfer-dude Shaun Brumbder is all about surfing and partying until one of his good friends dies in a surfing accident and Shaun begins to question the point of his life which is all surfing and partying. Then he finds a book that changes his life and he decides he wants to become a writer. The problem? He lives in the rich LA suburban community of Orange County, where people are more obsessed with pop culture and themselves than being happy and Shaun feels he needs to get out to go become a writer and study under his favorite author at Stanford University. (which is about 6 hours north of where he lives)

Again, why is this great? First and foremost, we have the script. It's smart, but still wacky as a teen comedy needs to be. The characters aren't nitwits wander around aimlessly or purposely insult themselves by being complete morons. There's no pointless wandering for a car or bathing in urine. It knows what it is, a teen comedy, but it's smart enough to know it doesn't have to be grossly offensive or incredibly stupid to be funny. The story has a heart, and the wacky antics all support it.

Next is the cast. Without the perfect cast this movie could've been a dud. The main character is played by Colin Hanks (son of Tom Hanks) in his first major starring role and he nails it. He plays the smart surfer-dude with a dream perfectly and he deals and reacts to his environment and the rest of the superb cast as he should. If you really watch you can find a little bit of his father in him, but mostly he is his own actor, and a good one at that. He's very natural playing a realistic character. His girlfriend is played by Schuyler Fisk (daughter of Sissy Spacek), and she's a very positive, caring California girl. Her character wasn't as strong as Hanks', but she was mainly meant to be more of his sidekick than counterpart. Jack Black was the reason I saw this movie in theaters, and he was as awesome as usual (up until recently, where's he has just been taking whatever is thrown at him seemingly) as the unmotivated stoner older brother Hanks' character Shaun doesn't want to be. He's the worst example in the world, and is ultimately part of Shaun's motivation to not become like him. Next are Catherine O'Hara and John Lithgow, who both have seemingly come into their prime closer to middle age. They play off of each other wonderfully as Shaun's selfish parents that live the rich LA life and feel like their son owes them something. Chevy Chase is great as the school principle even though the role is small, he gets a laugh or two as he is bound to do. The teacher Mr. Burke is played by Mike White who strangely hits home as a California high school teacher more into pop culture than teaching, and he also wrote the fantastic script. Also, he is just another character in the long line of people hold Shaun down. Leslie Mann and George Murdock have funny bit parts as Shaun's step-parents who are also completely out of touch with the world. Kevin Kline has a great bit part as the author who inspires Shaun to become a writer and tells him exactly what he wants to hear.

After that, this is just quality film-making by good people. Jake Kasdan (son of Lawrence Kasdan) directed this and his style shines all the way through. I first became a fan of his after his work on the TV show Freaks and Geeks, which is rather similar to this movie in that it deals with the wackiness of teen life in a knowing way. The writer Mike White also wrote a few episodes of Freeks and Geeks, which if you haven't seen, I highly suggest you do as it just hit DVD. Kasdan knows where to put the laughs, but he also knows how to moderate them and not make it a wacky teen orgy fest like the American Pie movies which are motivated only by teen libidos rather than real ambitions. The movie has a good story, and it is well told.

In the end, there is nothing groundbreaking in Orange County. It's a pretty straightforward teen movie with a realistic plot and great performances. With another American Pie-type cast with emphasis on the goofiness, this movie would've been a low-grade teen sex flick. Instead we have a real story about ambition and teen life with a few falls off of roofs and vases falling on heads. 8/10

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26 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Best comedy I've seen in ages.

Author: Shawn Watson from The Penumbra
11 May 2004

I have laughed so hard or so frequently in so long, too long. Orange County is quite possibly one of the best comedies of the past few years. I absolutely love it. To be honest I had little faith in Jake Kasdan after Zero Effect (which had Zero Effect on me) but this movie shows he has a real sense of humor and he balances it perfectly with outrageous characters and an untypically good-natured comedy plot.

Shaun Brumner (Colin Hanks in a wacky performance) is refused entry to Stanford University because his dunderheaded College Counsellor mailed them the wrong the transcripts. He recruits his slobbish brother (an even wackier Jack Black) and his girlfriend to help him in increasingly desperate and far-fetched methods of convincing Stanford to reconsider. It may sound like a dumb story but the characters and situations surrounding it provoke the maximum amount of laughter.

The two leads are particularly impressive and show natural comic genius that makes me beg for more from these characters. Keep a look out for loads of cameos from Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, Ben Stiller and Kevin Kline. And it's loads better than that crappy O.C. TV show.

The DVD is in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound. The extras are great with a commentary from Kasdan, deleted scenes which actually should have stayed in the movie and loads of TV spots with scenes especially created. You must get this. Everybody needs to laugh and laugh you will.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Pretty good movie

Author: crowrobot
21 April 2004

Orange County is a good movie. Not bad, not neccesarily great, but a good hour and a half of entertainment. It's got charm and sophistication. It's also got two young actors that need to be in more movies: Colin Hanks, son of Tom Hanks, and Schuyler Fisk, Sissy Spacek's daughter. These two young actors have wonderful moments, and they play it straight. Jack Black is zany, and the other comic actors have good cameos: Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, and an unbilled Kevin Kline as Marcus Skinner. Mike White's script is coming-of-age crossed with teeanage comedy. Also, the director, Jake Kasdan, son of Lawrence Kasdan, is perfect in setting up the story. All in all, after seeing this movie, I felt I had had a good time watching a movie. Go rent it. You won't regret it.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

It's a lot better than you might think it is.

Author: baby_phat38 from Canada
31 May 2003

When I first saw Orange County as a trailer, I thought it was just another teen movie. So I rented it and was surprised. It actually was pretty good. The movie had big and minor names and a sensible plot. Shaun Brumder was a likeable character and was very much like a modern day Holden Caulfield.It was laugh out loud hilarious with a different kind of comedy because it was ACTUALLY FUNNY.

Overall, Orange County is a great movie if your tired and need a laugh.Or if you're a big fan of Jack Black or Ben Stiller.

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24 out of 36 people found the following review useful:

brilliant cast with laugh after laugh

Author: rth7 from Connecticut
12 July 2003

With an amazing cast, dialogue that makes us really laugh, and a brilliant soundtrack, I can't believe this movie isn't rated higher! It's close to perfect - Colin Hanks, Schuyler Fisk, John Lithgow, Catherine O'Hara and Jack Black... what can you say??? Then there's the Chevy cameo and Kevin Kline! Please watch it again and upgrade your vote...

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12 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

I had low expectations and was surprised

29 July 2002

I feel that I should explain 2 things before I give my opinion of this movie 1) I don't expect much from a MTV production and 2) I went to see this movie just to see Colin Hanks, because of his role as Alex Whitman in Roswell.

I was surprised and impressed with Colin Hanks, and Schuyler Fisk who I had not seen in anything. Both of whom played characters that actually had some depth. They actually wanted to go to college not just get laid or marry someone rich.

I found the movie light and funny, full of great cameos

If you are expecting to see a lot of Jack Black you may be disappointed. He only has a supporting role. But hilariously funny as usual.

I also wish that they had kept Colin's hair off of his face, like in some of the beach scenes. The whole bangs thing just, just…. I just didn't like it.

Worth the rental fee for the cameos, Jack Black, some off color jokes and some of the lines the supporting actors have.

DVD has some great deleted scenes and explains why some of the ads showed things that were not in the movie.

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19 out of 29 people found the following review useful:


Author: Kristine ( from Chicago, Illinois
19 March 2005

I came home from a hard day of work, and to tell the truth, I needed a melt down. That's maybe the only reason why I enjoyed this movie. Because I seriously had my doubts renting it, but I think that Jack Black is a very funny actor. All I needed was a good laugh and I got it. True, this is one of those "Dude, where's my brain?" movies. Sometimes you just need those though. The people I work with told me that this was a pretty stupid movie, and it is. But I think people shouldn't be in a serious mood for this movie. For an intelligent comedy or a good movie kind of day, no. This is not the movie for you, but if you need a meltdown after a hard day, then by all means give this movie a chance. It's really not that bad, and you get more than a few laughs. But still, if I were Colin Hank's character, I think I still would've wanted to go to Standford. :D 7/10

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A likeable, well-acted comedy

Author: Mr. Pulse from Syracuse, NY
13 January 2002

Orange County is not as funny as American Pie, but that's all right. The movie has its share of ridiculous, over-the-top gags (A dean of admissions high on ecstasy, for example), but it's far more interested in its characters than its jokes, a refreshing change of pace for this type of movie. The material's supported by some very good performances, especially from leads Colin Hanks and Jack Black.

Hanks plays Shaun, a high school senior who desperately wants to escape his horrible upper middle class life in Orange County for literary pursuits under his favorite writer, Marcus Skinner, who is a professor at Stanford University. But his guidance counselor (Lily Tomlin) botches his application, leaving Shaun relying on the assistance of his stoner brother Lance (Black) and his selfish father (John Lithgow).

You have no doubt heard that Colin Hanks is the son of famous acting father Tom. Even if connections got him the job, you cannot deny that he puts in a strong lead performance (Even if it does have some echoes of his dad's likeable everyman persona). Comedy stars like Catherine O'Hara, Chevy Chase, Garry Marshall, all put it nice small pieces, but it is Jack Black who owns most of the funniest moments in the film. His mere presence in a scene can make it funny; often he brings out laughs with a look or a eyebrow twitch.

The film gets a little sappy and formulaic as it heads toward its conclusion; Shaun's reaction when he meets his hero is spot-on, but their conversation about his story feels wrong; and the inevitable ending is what you pretty much expect as soon as that initial rejection letter arrives at Shaun's door. Professor Skinner put it best; "My one complaint - You need an ending."

Orange County needed a stronger, more unusual ending to compliment the offbeat, but very enjoyable vibe the rest of the of the movie gives off. Still, I found myself completely entertained until the end, and left really appreciating the fine writing and acting, and even wishing the movie was a little longer. And that doesn't happen too often.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Hollow Peel

Author: flyingcandy from eekstown, maine
8 December 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie suffers from what many modern (post 2000) slacker comedies are stricken with: the "Anything Goes" syndrome. There are few bounds in this independent film directed by Jake "Son of Lawrence" Kasdan, featuring cameos from Chevy Chase, Lily Tomlin and Lawrence's own stock actor, Kevin Kline.

The story centers on a young man from... yep, Orange County, California, who spends his careless youth surfing and partying; then reads a book that "changes his life" and, along with a dream to become a writer, really wants to attend Stanford University to meet the book's author who works there.

Along the way this desire (i.e. the plot) is outshined by the wacky side-characters, including two Beavis and Buttheadish surfer pals; a drunk mother (Catherine O'Hara) married to a crippled old man; a selfish father (John Lithgow) married to a gorgeous young "trophy"; and a stoner brother played by Jack Black (who's not in the movie as much as is promoted) - all vying to outdo each other on screen.

When the main character - played by bland Colin Hanks, son of Tom - finally arrives at the college of his dreams, within ten minutes he's accidentally given the dean of admissions (a portly Harold Ramis) enough "X" to blind a horse, and to top it off, his zany drugged-out brother (using every stoner cliché in the book including the usual "WOW!") burns the admissions building to the ground.

Nothing really matters at this point, and yet we have another (drawn-out and totally useless) half-an-hour to go. All the things that should have been peripheral eccentricities, which end up leaping to the foreground of every scene, are symptoms of that disease I already mentioned: "Anything Goes"... Which can be, as in this case, fatal. That is, without that one cure, substance... Something this movie has very little of.

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