Written by Mike White
Directed by Jake Kasdan

Running Time: 1:21

Rated PG-13
for drug content, language and sexuality.

Colin Hanks
as Shaun Brumder

Schuyler Fisk
as Ashley

Jack Black
as Lance Brumder

Catherine O'Hara
as Cindy Beugler

John Lithgow
as Bud Brumder

Lily Tomlin
as Guidance counselor

Harold Ramis
as Don Durkett

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Not nearly as entertaining as I would have hoped, Orange County had less Jack Black than the commercials for the film would have you believe, and since he was the most entertaining part of the film, the movie suffers.

Colin Hanks stars as Shaun Brumder, a former surf kid living in Orange County. After one of this best friends dies in a surfing accident, Shaun decides to change his life. He wants to become a writer, and the best place he feels to do this, is Stanford University, where his favorite author is a professor. He has the grades, but his guidance counselor sends in the wrong transcript. Colin however gets another shot when one of his friends gets her grandfather, who happens to be on the Board of Directors at Stanford, to come over to Colin's house. Colin's family however, has other plans. His mother (Catherine O'Hara) is a messy drunk, while his brother (Jack Black) is a druggie who wanders around the house in his underwear. Colin then decides to head to Stanford to talk to the director of admissions, but while there he ends up getting the director high on speed, and his brother burns down the admissions building. All the while Colin's girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk) is there by his side. And in the end Colin learns that he doesn't need to go to Stanford to be a good writer, he just needs to be with the people who care about him.

*Yawn*. For a movie that's only 81 minutes, I was bored right from the start. First off, a movie that advertises the incredibly funny Jack Black, should actually have Black in the film. He instead makes spotty appearances throughout, and each time he's on screen, the movie picks up, but as soon as he leaves, it gets boring again. Colin Hanks is nice enough, but not engaging enough to hold my attention. Schuyler Fisk is cute but her character is very one-dimensional. Shaun's parents are also just annoying, and not very appealing, not even in a sympathetic way. I guess we were supposed to feel sorry for Shaun and want to root for him to get out of Orange County, but the movie never made me feel that way. I just kept hoping something would happen that would make me laugh, and besides Jack Black's sporadic appearances, nothing did.

The movie was full of special appearances by people I wouldn't have expected see, and I wonder how or why they did show up, but Lily Tomlin played the guidance counselor, I already mentioned Catherine O'Hara as Shaun's mother, John Lithgow played his father, Leslie Mann played his father's new wife, Kevin Kline played the author Shaun adored, Harold Ramis played the director of admissions at Stanford, and Ben Stiller played a fireman. With all those people, the movie could have been more entertaining, but unfortunately, most of the roles were too short, or written badly. There was no heart to the film, and no reason to care for any of these people, and in the end, I didn't and therefore, I didn't care for the film.

So overall, unless you're a die hard Jack Black fan, you can skip Orange County and wait for a couple of years when TNT or TBS pick it up and play it every day for 2 weeks a year.

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reviewed 01/12/02

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