Orange County (film)

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Orange County is a 2002 American comedy film starring Colin Hanks and Jack Black. It was released on January 11, 2002. The movie was distributed by Paramount Pictures and produced by MTV Productions and Scott Rudin. The movie was directed by Jake Kasdan and written by Mike White.

Orange County
Orange county poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJake Kasdan
Produced byScott Rudin
Written byMike White
StarringColin Hanks
Jack Black
Catherine O'Hara
Schuyler Fisk
John Lithgow
Lily Tomlin
Music byMichael Andrews
CinematographyGreg Gardiner
Edited byTara Timpone
MTV Productions
Scott Rudin Productions
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
January 11, 2002 (2002-01-11)
Running time
82 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$18 million[1]
Box office$43.3 million[2]


Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks) is an intelligent teenager from affluent Orange County, California with little interest in his education, leading a carefree SoCal lifestyle of surfing, drinking, and partying. Shaun's best friend Lonny (Bret Harrison) is killed in a surfing accident, leading Shaun to rethink his life. He finds a novel on the beach by the author Marcus Skinner, which inspires him to become a writer. Upon learning that Skinner is an English professor at Stanford University, Shaun makes it his goal to attend Stanford and study under him.

Shaun dramatically improves himself academically, obtaining high grades and SAT scores and becoming president of his graduating class. Following the advice of his guidance counselor, Ms. Cobb (Lily Tomlin), Shaun applies only to Stanford. This backfires when Shaun is rejected because Ms. Cobb mixed up his transcript with that of another student. Reaching out to his wealthy father Bud (John Lithgow), who left his family to marry a much younger woman (Leslie Mann), Shaun pleads with him to donate to Stanford to increase Shaun’s chances of acceptance. Disapproving of Shaun's dream of becoming a writer, Bud refuses. Shaun's girlfriend Ashley (Schuyler Fisk) convinces her friend Tanya (Carly Pope) to allow Shaun to be interviewed at his home by Tanya's grandfather, a Stanford board member. Unfortunately, the antics of Shaun’s dysfunctional family members, including his alcoholic, emotionally fragile mother Cindy (Catherine O'Hara) and his dim-witted stoner brother Lance (Jack Black), cause Shaun's interviewers to storm out in disgust.

In a last-ditch effort, Ashley and Lance convince Shaun to drive to Palo Alto and plead his case directly to Stanford Admissions Director Don Durkett (Harold Ramis). By the time they reach campus, the admissions building is closed. While Lance seduces the secretary on duty, Shaun and Ashley steal Durkett's home address. There, Shaun impresses Durkett with his real transcript, but Durkett is reluctant to admit him so late in the admissions process. After much groveling, Shaun convinces him to give it a second thought. Disaster strikes again when Ashley confuses Lance's MDMA for pain relievers, offering Durkett the pills for his headache and causing him to become high. Shaun, Ashley, and Durkett return to find the Admissions Building engulfed in flames, caused by Lance smoking with the receptionist. With Lance wanted for arson, they abandon Durkett and flee the scene.

Frustrated with Shaun's obsession, Ashley points out that his attending Stanford would likely mean the end of their relationship, and she leaves. Depressed, Shaun wanders the campus and meets a female student who invites him to a frat party. He is disappointed to learn the Stanford coeds are just as vapid as teenagers from Orange County. With a more cynical view of college, Shaun runs into Professor Skinner (Kevin Kline) and is invited to his office. Shaun confides that he is afraid his dreams of being a good writer are over. Skinner reminds him that many famous authors such as James Joyce and William Faulkner grew up in places that were not intellectually stimulating, and were inspired by the conflicts in their own lives. Having an epiphany, Shaun realizes his misguided intentions and finds Ashley to apologize. They pick up Lance, still hiding from police, and drive home.

In Orange County, Shaun's parents seek each other out to deal with Shaun's problem. They reconcile, realizing they are much happier together than with their respective new spouses, and conclude they have not been good parents to Shaun. To make amends, Bud donates enough money to Stanford for the construction of a new Admissions Building, which secures Shaun’s acceptance. Initially ecstatic, Shaun remembers what Ashley and Professor Skinner said, and decides to stay in Orange County with Ashley and his family, realizing they are the true inspiration for his writing. Shaun leaves a copy of Skinner's book at the beach for someone else to find, then surfs with his friends for the first time since Lonny's death.



Orange County was given 3 of 4 stars by Roger Ebert, who described it as, "one of those happy projects where everything seems to fall naturally into place. It will sound like the kind of movie that, if you are over 17, you don't usually go to see. But it isn't. It's one of those movies where the description can't do justice to the experience."[3] The film currently holds a rating of 6.2/10 and 46% on Rotten Tomatoes. The site's consensus states: "Smarter than the average teen movie, but a little on the unmemorable side."[4]

It garnered a better reception abroad than domestically. Matthew Turner of ViewLondon states that, "though there are no real belly laughs or any Farrelly-like set pieces, this is still a better than average comedy, thanks to its witty script and its amusing collection of characters. Worth watching."[5] while Brian McKay of describes it as, "a notch above the usual tripe we get from MTV films—but it's not a very big notch."[6]


The soundtrack was released on 2 discs on December 18, 2001.[7] The movie itself contains 25 credited songs, leaving 9 out of the soundtrack[8]

  1. "Defy You" - The Offspring
  2. "Story of My Life" (Live) - Social Distortion
  3. "The One" - Foo Fighters
  4. "Shadow Stabbing" - Cake
  5. "Butterfly" - Crazy Town
  6. "1st Time" - Bad Ronald
  7. "Lay Down Burden" - Brian Wilson
  8. "Everything's Cool" - Lit
  9. "Glad That It's Over" - 12 Rods
  10. "Stick 'Em Up" - Quarashi
  11. "Lose You" - Pete Yorn
  12. "Under the Tracks" - Creeper Lagoon
  13. "Love and Mercy" - Brian Wilson
  14. "California" - Phantom Planet
  15. "Hello" (hidden track) - Sugarbomb


  1. ^ "Orange County (2002)". The Numbers. Retrieved June 21, 2017.
  2. ^ "Orange County (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  3. ^ "Orange County Movie Review & Film Summary (2002)". Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  4. ^ "Orange County Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved October 15, 2014.
  5. ^ "Orange County Film Review". Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  6. ^ "Orange County Film Review". Retrieved March 4, 2014.
  7. ^ "". Archived from the original on 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-12-02. Retrieved 2010-07-20.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit