Orange County


Starring: Jack Black, Colin Hanks, Schuyler Fisk
Director: Jake Kasdan

Rating: PG-13

Review Posted: 6.24.02


By John Teves


The Movie


Shaun Brumder (Hanks) is content to be a bright, talented, but unfocused Southern California surf slacker- until the day he discovers a novel by acclaimed author Martin Skinner. Inspired, he suddenly realizes his life's ambition: to leave behind mind-numbing Orange County and study creative writing with Skinner at Stanford University. But after being denied enrollment due to an admissions error, Shaun is forced to seek help from not only his girlfriend Ashley (Fisk) but also his hopelessly dysfunctional parents (O'Hara & Lithgow), stoner brother Lance (Black), and a hilarious circumstances to make his dream of escaping his hometown nightmare a reality.



Orange County was a clever film. I did enjoy the experience as the movie was delightful and crude enough to entertain me. The magic of Colin Hanks was exceptional, especially when paired on screen with Jack Black. Together, Hanks and Black give birth to Orange County. Black is a master at the art of playing the elementary loser, and this role is no different. The films down fall lies in character focus; after awhile it becomes a little humdrum, but that doesn’t make it a bad film; Hanks and Black handle the material so well that I couldn't help but laugh.


Orange County is a film blessed with both fair material and a fine cast, but I think it's the acting that takes the movie to comedic plane; thanks to Hanks and Black. Orange County is clever and funny, but the lines themselves aren't enough to make this movie go much higher.


>Read Craig Younkin's Film Review.

>Read Chris Brian's DVD Review.


The Video


Orange County appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, dual-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Sharpness looked crisp and well defined. No signs of softness, the film appeared clear and distinct. I did notice some jagged edges and edge enhancement at times, but nothing major. I saw a few examples of specks but it was minor.


As a whole, the movie seemed to be nicely clean and fresh. The Color featured a naturalistic palette for the most part, and the colors appeared to be vibrant and rich. There were no problems related to bleeding or noise. Black levels seemed to be deep, and shadow detailed looked appropriately heavy but not excessively thick. Ultimately, Orange County offered a very solid picture that looked wonderful.



The Audio


Orange County is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. The soundtrack was solid for this sort of flick. The sound field emphasized the forward channels. The track was fairly active. Audio quality in general appeared good; speech sounded distinct and natural. The soundtrack demonstrated good dynamics, with a rich bass. Overall, the audio of Orange County supported the material well.


The Extras


Extras on this disc are fairly common. First, director Jake Kasdan and writer Mike White invite us to listen to their commentary. On top of that, we are presented with four deleted scenes, which account for only a short amount of time.


Another cool extra are the 15 interstitials, which were used during Paramount's promotional television campaign showing Jack Black and Colin Hanks doing crazy things. These interstitials are scenes that are not included in the final cut of the film, perhaps they were cut or filmed exclusively to use in TV spots. Rounding up the extras on this disc is the theatrical trailer.





Should you rent it or buy it? As a film, Orange County was decent. The movie boasted a good lead performance from Colin Hanks and some boisterously entertaining scenes with Jack Black, but the humor was too ordinary and the story seemed drab. The DVD offered a generally good picture and sound plus a reasonable amount of extras. Fans of Orange County should like this DVD; it's not the greatest film, but it certainly is well worth a rental.




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