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Orange County review

Smart, personal and original, Jake "son of Lawrence" Kasdan's first movie Zero Effect was an off-kilter detective story that oozed sly personality and wit. Now he's back with a new film that's easier on the brain but - for all its teen schlock conventions - just as funny.

Stuck in the surfer-dude hell that is California's Orange County, Shaun Brumder (Colin "son of Tom" Hanks) dreams of studying literature at Stanford. But when a dippy high school counsellor stuffs up his application, it's up to Shaun, his girlfriend (Schuyler Fisk) and his drugged-up wreck of a brother Lance (Jack Black) to snatch victory from the jaws of disaster... Well, hopefully.

With a mix-and-match plot you could staple onto half-a-dozen post-American Pie efforts, Orange County offers few surprises. What it does have, though, is style and warmth. From the uptight Shaun to the spaced-out Lance via associated dopeheads, moronic preppies and nightmarish relatives, Kasdan clearly has a deep and highly contagious affection for his characters.


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