JUST A FADED MEMORY
- Dawn Taylor
- Portland Tribune - Features
There are movies that stay with you long after you leave the theater. They cling desperately to the ragged edges of your brain, reverberating with raw emotion or raising questions about the nature of man, life, love or the universe.
Then there are movies such as 'Orange County,' which you pretty much forget by the time you get your car door unlocked.
It's not that it's a bad movie Ñ no, a truly bad movie would be memorable. It's just that 'Orange County' is É pleasant. Just pleasant. That's all.
There are moments of genuine humor, I'll grant that. Not too many, but there are definitely laughs. It isn't sleazy or crass like a great many teen comedies. Women's breasts aren't used as a source of humor, for instance, and there are no polar bears molesting drunken ski bums.
But there's also nothing terribly exciting or different here. The very pleasant Colin Hanks (looking more than a little like a young version of his equally pleasant dad, Tom) plays Shaun Brumder, a high school senior who finds a book on the beach, falls in love with it and decides he wants to become a writer.
He becomes fixated on going to Stanford because that's where the book's author (Kevin Kline) is a professor. Naturally, the remainder of the film focuses on all the terrible things that happen as he tries to get there. His guidance counselor (an underused Lily Tomlin) sends the wrong transcripts, so he's rejected. A potential sponsor is horrified by Shaun's drunken mother (Catherine O'Hara) and drug-addled, parolee brother (Jack Black).
The dean of admissions (Harold Ramis) takes mind-altering drugs by accident, then has his office burnt to the ground. Shaun's girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk, real-life daughter of Sissy Spacek) wants him to stay in town and go to college with her.
Director Jake Kasdan ('Zero Effect') has a knack for good-natured comedies and the supporting cast is bizarrely talent-heavy for how little it's used.
It's certainly enjoyable. It's just not especially memorable.