Review: “Orange County”

Despite some good intentions and a decent coming-of-age story, ‘Orange’ is sadly bogged down by lacklustre jokes, poorly utilised celebrity cameos galore and decent if uninvolving leads.

This is very much one of those ho-hum style comedies – there’s nothing particularly bad about it, but nothing good either – it ultimately adds up to being a tremendous waste of potential. The script, despite the at times sympathetic story of a young man desperate to escape his suburban family life, utilises overdone and not particularly funny gags – many involving Jack Black in Y-fronts.

Black, O’Hara, and Murdock have all proven great comedic talents in the past but none of them seem to give the material (or lack thereof) any gusto with their performances as members of a very dysfunctional family. As much as Colin Hanks makes an ok lead, the character comes across as a whiner most of the time, one who doesn’t deserve the genuinely sweet affections of his girlfriend (decently handled by Schulyer Fisk).

Chevy Chase, Lily Tomlin, Ben Stiller, Garry Marshall, etc. all make utterly forgettable appearances in small bit parts. Harold Ramis at least has one of the film’s funnier sight gags as the admissions professor who gets high, whilst Kevin Kline seems to be channeling another movie in the full on serious role as Hanks’ idol. John Lithgow thankfully gets to play something a little different from “3rd Rock”.

The ending resolution is predictable and cliched, whilst some gags such as his surfer buddies realising their gay, seem to be thrown in there without any explanation or further exploration. As for the title, it may as well have been ‘Seattle’ or something as aside from the beach/surf influence there isn’t any real atmosphere or feel to the film’s location.

Editing is ok, directing decent, its just a true wonder as to how many great stars got involved in such a non-entity of a film. The project really needed to go back to the drawing board and get a working script. At under 90 minutes long, this is a cable TV effort at best.