All Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks) wants to do is go to Stanford to become a writer. Problem is, he’s brought up in Orange County, California where his family, friends and school all seem to be getting in his path in unusually hilarious ways. Shaun grew up as a typical OC surfer dude but after finding a book buried in the sand, everything changes and in a brisk 82 minutes, we see Shaun go through a bizarre but hilarious journey to find himself.
ORANGE COUNTY came and went pretty quickly in January 2002 (even back then this was known as “January Dumping Ground”, usually where studios hide their stinkers and that tradition somewhat continues today) and I always wish this movie did better. It’s a brisk, funny, sun-baked comedy with very high energy in all of its comedic performances. It had an early Jack Black Is Crazy performance (he has the biggest laughs in his John Belushi like craziness) and great comedic turns by Catherine O’Hara, John Lithgow, Leslie Mann, Lily Tomlin and especially the late, great Harold Ramis who gets a little drugged up by accident.
About the Blu Ray:
Like with the recent re-release of WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON, ORANGE COUNTY is yet another example of a movie that you would think would be available on the Blu Ray format, but not until now. It also was on streaming services for a while but is now just available for digital rental or purchase. I think it’s great that this overlooked movie has a physical media release now and I am HOPING new eyes come across it!
The transfer here, however, suffers from quite a bit of noise and pixelization, and is sadly in 16×9 “full screen” rather than in its original 1.85:1 framing and it seems to come from a much older HD source. Even so, if you’re a fan of the movie and this gives you a case of the giggles, it’s totally forgivable. I was more a fan of the solid 5.1 Dolby Digital track and how awesome the early 00’s rock soundtrack comes across, and overall the soundtrack is your standard comedy fare with nothing to ring home about. This isn’t a transfer to showcase your system off, but is pretty acceptable for the format.
The extras have been ported over from the original DVD release, which I remember owning and loving the commentary with Jake Kasdan and Mike White, who at that point were coming off from their work on FREAKS & GEEKS and I was following their careers very closely. Some deleted scenes are also included and some short clips to promote the movie are also here. Surprisingly there is no digital copy code included here and it would have been nice to have a backup Apple TV in the library. Overall I’m glad this is on disc but still wished for a much better transfer and a newer commentary track. ORANGE COUNTY is still a hilarious comedy either way, and I’m glad it has a new home.
ORANGE COUNTY is now available on Blu Ray from Paramount. Many thanks to Paramount and Shinn Communications for sending along a copy for review.