Quite predictable but still engaging enough to keep your attention, Orange County is a solid teen comedy. We will be following young Shaun and his clumsy efforts to get into Stanford. I remember watching this movie about a year after I got into my local college and loving it. Although I identified much more with Shaun’s brother Lance played by none other than Jack Black. I kept quoting Shaun’s description of him for the next couple of years. “And this is my brother Lance, he’s perpetually recovering from the night before.”
When it comes to my college career, I think that a quote from How High feels more appropriate: “You’re the first in our family to go to college, but six years in a two-year community college is not what I had in mind.” After this stroll down memory lane, let’s get back to this casual and easygoing movie. As its title suggests, Orange County is set in the affluent part of California, so you’ll have to disregard all the rich people’s stuff. At least the family is dysfunctional. I was expecting more from MTV films. After all, they brought us one of the most beautiful outsider stories of the nineties in Joe’s Apartment.
Lacking the edge that some of the other comedies of that time had, Orange County is this dreamy version of that transition period between teen years and adulthood. It’s a perfect little piece of escapism for all of us living in different circumstances. The pacing is fast and there’s always something going including the first-person narration following Shaun’s train of thought.
After several life-changing events, Shaun finally figured out what he wants to do in life. He wants to become a writer. One of the persons he admires most in the world is Marcus Skinner, an English professor at Stanford. So, Shaun decides to do everything in his power to get into Stanford. Something that’s going to be more difficult than he initially imagined.
Colin Hanks was pretty good in a lead role along with young Schuyler Fisk. And I’m sure you’re going to love the star power of Orange County’s supporting cast. So, this is one of those movies you just need to let take you for a ride. Like it’s saying to you the whole time relax man, everything is going to be alright. It’s funny to think that this similar type of setting can be seen in a lot of dramedies that flooded the market in the coming years. For example, The Chumscrubber and Alpha Dog are much more serious affairs and I do recommend you check them out.
Director: Jake Kasdan
Writer: Mike White
Cast: Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Schuyler Fisk, Mike White, Catherine O’Hara, John Lithgow, Chevy Chase
Fun Facts: Jack Black is screenwriter Mike White’s next-door neighbor. His part in the movie was written specifically for him.