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Blu-ray Review: Orange County (2002)

April 26, 2022

By John Corrado

In time for the film’s 20th anniversary this year, Paramount is releasing the 2002 teen comedy Orange County for the first time on Blu-ray this week.

The film centres around a kid named Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks), a high schooler in the titular California suburb who is growing tired of the “surfer dude” lifestyle that his buddies seem happy to pursue.

Shaun is inspired to become a writer when, as if by fate, he finds a novel on the beach that changes his life. The novel is by a man named Marcus Skinner, who happens to teach at Stanford University.

Shaun becomes determined to get into the university as a way to get out of Orange County, and away from his mostly dysfunctional family, including his alcoholic mother (Catherine O’Hara), a father (John Lithgow) who left the family for a younger woman (Leslie Mann), and a deadbeat older brother (Jack Black) who stays at home all day doing drugs. But there is a lesson or two to be learned as he realizes that he may also need their help in order to get there.

Directed by Jake Kasdan, and written by Mike White, Orange County is a coming of age movie that follows the beats of the genre to a tee, but does so in an enjoyable way. At a brief 82 minutes, there are a few elements of the story that feel a bit underdeveloped. But Kasdan and White have clear affection for their rag tag bunch of characters, and the film has a bit more heart and at times wisdom than expected (especially from a film produced by MTV).

The young Hanks delivers a likeable performance in the lead, and the all-star comic cast is rounded out by appearances from Lilly Tomlin, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis and Ben Stiller. While Orange County doesn’t have quite as high a profile as some other teen movies from its era, this is still a well acted and well written little film that has held up pretty well two decades later, and deserves somewhat of a reappraisal on Blu-ray.

Bonus Features (Blu-ray):

The Blu-ray includes several archival bonus features ported over from the original DVD release, though some new content like a reunion featurette would have been nice. There is no digital copy included in the package.

Commentary by Director Jake Kasdan and Writer Mike White

Deleted Scenes

Lance and Durkett (1 minute, 57 seconds)

Shaun’s Fantasy (50 seconds)

Rehab (40 seconds)

Mrs. Cobb Fights Back (2 minutes, 24 seconds)

15 Interstitials: Peer Recommendation, Peer Recommendation/Annihilator, Tape 1, Tape 2A, Tape 2B, Deep Thoughts, Macbeth, Classics, Salinger, Literature, Role Models, Healthcare, Romance, Dating, Creativity.

Theatrical Trailer (2 minutes, 28 seconds)

Orange County is a Paramount Home Entertainment release. It’s 82 minutes and rated PG.

Street Date: April 26th, 2022

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