Orange County

Who can ever forget the joys and hassles of selecting a college? There are the S.A.T scores, the grades to maintain, the list of clubs and activities, and the constant dealings with a guidance counselor. The funny thing about guidance counselors, is the concern that if they are really such experts on colleges and how to get in the right college, then how did they end up in such a position?

After all of the forms have been filled out, applications mailed, and interviews and visits completed, then comes the dreaded task of waiting for an acceptance to the college that will mark ones transition into adulthood, and provide an education and experiences that will shape ones future and develop a person into whom they are to become.

In the new film “Orange County” viewers are introduced to Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks), a Straight A student who has developed a love of writing following the surfing death of a friend. A chance finding of a book by a noted author at Stanford has given Shaun the direction he has looked for, and he wants nothing more than to attend Stanford and study writing under the author who inspired him. Shaun’s guidance counselor (Lily Tomlin), tells him that he is certain to get into Stanford, and that he does not need to apply to any other schools. The day of waiting pass, and Shauan is shocked when he is rejected for admission. A quick check of the facts uncovers that the school sent Stanford the wrong transcripts, and Shaun is determined to get into the school.

Sadly for Shaun, his family is in the way. By calling in a favor, Shaun; s girlfriend Ashley (Schuyler Fisk), sets up a meeting with a member of Stanford’s admissions board. In one of the funniest scenes in recent memory, things go badly from this point on. Shaun’s mother is drunk, and spills all of her venom over Shaun’s father (John Lithgow), who left her for a younger woman. Shaun’s stoned surfer buddies show up un announced, and worse yet, brother Lance (Jack Black), arrives clad only in his underwear looking for a urine sample for his probation officer to avoid jail.

If this was not bad enough events follow that make a bad situation even worse, and Shaun, Ashley, and Lance head to Stanford in a last ditch effort to fix the damage that has been done.

What follows is some predictable but at times entertaining adventures, where Shaun has to question what he wants in life, and discover the things that matter to him and inspire him. While not a deep story, the film has some funny moments and Black and Hanks are very good in their roles despite having limited material to work with. The film is not very long so I would suggest seeing it during the day when it is cheaper or waiting for a video.

3 stars out of 5