Orange County (2002) [Review]

81 min January 11, 2002

Plot: Realizing he wants to become a writer and escape his family, Shaun Brumder (Hanks) decides to apply for Stanford, but isn’t accepted – only later finding out they received the wrong transcript. His brother Lance (Black) decides to help him get into Stanford by going to meet the dean of students. Will Shaun be able to escape from his drunk mother, chemically-fried brother, and over-achiever father and get into Stanford?


This looked decent in the previews, but I was a bit worried since it was an MTV movie (anyone remember Joe’s Apartment?). I figured I’d give it a try, although I wasn’t expecting much.

Would Orange County live up to my incredibly low expectations, or was it just another throwaway film?

Tom Hanks’ son Colin does an okay job in his role in Orange County. He plays the “straight man” well (a chip off the old block, as his father usually does that himself). Unfortunately, just like his father, Colin’s “straight man” routine gets old very quickly.

Colin’s “straight man” routine does plays well against his wild and crazy brother, played by Jack Black. Jack Black is great in this role, and plays it to the hilt. These crazy roles are what Jack Black does the best (and should continue to do).

Catherine O’Hara as their mother is very believable, and this role is much better for her than that other mom she played in those so-called “comedies”: the Home Alone (1990) series (more like tragedies…Macaulay Culkin is no longer acting as much anymore, and I’m extremely happy about that!).

The plot of Orange County was reminiscent of other recent films: guy gets wronged and goes on a wild and crazy adventure to correct the wrong (Road Trip). This one pulled it off rather well though. It was simple, but a more involved plot would not have worked for this type of comedy. They managed to do a decent job of including zaniness and humor that the audience will be able to appreciate.

The special features on the Orange County DVD are pretty basic..just the trailer and a couple of deleted scenes. They also include a bunch of interstitials (which turn out to be little promos for the movie…think a trailer with scenes made just for the trailer), which are more fun-sounding than they actually are.

All in all, Orange County turns out to be a somewhat fun comedic adventure. If you’re looking for something to make you think, this isn’t for you. If you just want a light movie that’ll remind you a bit of Road Trip, you could do worse than Orange County.

    Orange County (2002) has a running time of 1 hr 21 mins and is rated for drug content, language and sexuality. Want to learn more? Visit the IMDB Page .

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DVD Features

  • Widescreen
  • Animated Menus
  • Scene Access
  • Feature-Length Audio Commentary by Director Jake Kasdan and Writer Mike White
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • 15 Interstitials
  • 4 Deleted Scenes


An ex-Floridian, ex-Baltimorian now living in Arizona, Reid wants to get into a career that involves web-design, but for now enjoys working on critiQal in his spare time.

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