Orange County (2002)

(In theaters, March 2002) Even though it was marketed as just another road-trip teen comedy, Orange County has a bit more to offer. It’s the “oh-so-sweet” story of a teen trying to find his way in life, despite his tortured family, troublesome friends and incompetent adult figures. The journey isn’t as raucous nor as raunchy as some of the trailers would like you to believe. A bunch of mostly-unknown young actors get to beef up their resume with some skill (along with a few more familiar faces, from supporting players John Lithgow and Jack Black to cameos by Kevin Kline and Ben Stiller); we’ll probably see them in other movies soon. The pacing is okay though not spectacular, and that ultimately stands as an assessment of the film as a whole: Better than most teen comedies, sure, but ultimately nothing overly remarkable. The conclusion is of the “awww” variety, though one is compelled to wonder if the protagonist is ultimately one of those pitiful one-true-story type of writer.

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