ORANGE COUNTY (2002) 

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Colin Hanks
Jack Black
Schuyler Fisk
Catherine O'Hara
John Lithgow
George Murdock
Kyle Howard
R.J. Knoll
Harold Ramis
Kevin Kline
Chevy Chase
Lily Tomlin

Jack Kasdan



Time: 82 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Teen Comedy

SYNOPSIS: When his guidance counselor sends the wrong transcript to Stanford, Shaun is forced, along with his deadbeat brother and supportive girlfriend, to pull out all the stops in order to convince the school that they've made a mistake.

BOTTOM LINE: A kinetic style, likable leading man and outrageous supporting cast all contribute to making this unusual coming-of-age story fairly entertaining. While not a film I longed to see, it's one of the few teen comedies made in recent years whose plot does not revolve around the lead character's attempts to get laid. This story concentrates on that other elusive teen dream: getting into the right college. In this case, Shaun (Hanks) is desperate to get accepted by Stanford because his idol, the great writer Marcus Skinner (Kline), teaches there. He sent him his short story about his life in Orange County and wants nothing more, but to learn to write from the master himself. Of course, things don't go the way he planned. While trying to correct a clerical mishap, all hell breaks loose and Shaun is forced to come to terms with himself, his future and his importance to his family. Though not a deep film, it has its' touching, poignant and truly thoughtful moments – in between the total chaos wrecked by Black, O'Hara (as Shaun's bitter, clingy, alcoholic mother) and Lithgow (as his angry, money-hungry, distant father). Hanks really holds his own against these veteran scene stealers, making Shaun a character you can't help but root for. Being the straight man is not an easy task, yet he carries the burden with ease. This is certainly not a film for everyone, but if your humor leans to the dark side, there's enough perverse silliness to justify your time.

"A writer? What do you have to write about? You're not oppressed. You're not gay."

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