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Movie Shorts

These days, teen comedies can’t seem to help but fall back on (and all over) sex and fart jokes. Director Jake Kasdan (son of Lawrence, director of The Zero Effect) and writer Mike White (Chuck and Buck) have minimally loftier goals in Orange County, namely, to trace a speeded-up maturation process for new high school grad Shaun (Colin Hanks, son of Tom).

Despite all outward signs to the contrary, the movie is not dreadful, but makes the best of a bad generic situation. Rejected by Stanford because his guidance counselor (Lily Tomlin) sends the wrong transcript, excellent student and aspiring writer Shaun is undone, and endeavors to talk his way in, with the help and un-help of several teen comedy staples.

The gross-out material comes embodied by Shaun’s brother Lance (Jack Black), as inappropriate as can be on every possible occasion. The clueless-estranged-parents-who-just-need-to-get-laid quotient is filled by Catherine O’Hara and John Lithgow. And Shaun’s romantic interest is the eminently sensible Ashley (Schuyler Fisk, daughter of Sissy Spacek and art director Jack Fisk). If you can get past the considerable distractions — Hanks is eerily like his dad in affect and intonation, the physical comedy (involving a wheelchair, urine, ass-cracks, etc.) is very broad and the episodic structure, even treated "ironically," gets tedious — you might find some solace in the generally fine performances
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