The Oranges

Directed By: Julian Farino

Starring: Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Catherine Keener, Adam Brody, Alia Shawkat, Oliver Platt, and Allison Janney

New Jersey.  The Garden State.  The state where you can't pump your own gas.  It's not exactly the hottest travel destination (for good reason).  It's suburbia.  It's where urbanites go to die.  With this in mind, it's the perfect location for a film like the dramedy The Oranges.  Nothing quite says quintessential suburban life like the North Jersey town of West Orange.  Nothing quite says boring like The Oranges either.

David and Paige Walling (Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener) and Terry and Cathy Ostroff (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney) are longtime friends and neighbors.  Living together on Orange Drive in the suburbs of New Jersey, these two couples have become one big happy family.  David and Terry are best friends and walk together several times a week.  The couples even have regular dinners together.  All this changes when David kisses Nina (Leighton Meester), the Ostroffs’ wayward 24-year-old daughter who has just returned home for the first time in five years after ending her relationship with her ex-fiancée Ethan (Sam Rosen).

What starts with a kiss turns into a full-blown relationship that ripples through both families once discovered by Cathy.  Paige moves out of the house.  David and Terry's friendship sours.  Terry and Cathy are furious with Nina.  The Wallings' son Toby (Adam Brody), with whom Cathy had been trying to set up Nina, takes issue with his dad effectively killing his game.  Finally, the Wallings' daughter Vanessa (Alia Shawkat), Nina's childhood best friend, has some serious issues with this relationship.  With all this familial chaos, one thing is lost.  David and Nina are happy together.

For a movie that marketed itself as this wild family drama, The Oranges falls flat in every way.  It is one of the most boring comedies I've seen in ages.  I seriously considered getting some shuteye during this one as this talented cast does absolutely nothing to hold my attention.  The film is simply not funny enough.  The best parts of The Oranges are in the trailer.  I could have saved myself 88 minutes by not wasting my time on this crap.  This is a TV movie at best.

One has to wonder what went wrong.  There's an extremely talented cast all playing the same types of characters they always play on the big screen.  This should have been something much better.  Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt, and Allison Janney are enough to get me to see any movie.  They all have their own brands of comedy.  They just don't get the job done together.  While the actors deserve some of the blame, most of the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of director Julian Farino and screenwriters Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss.  These three do not give their cast strong material to keep the laughs coming.

I have no love for The Oranges.  The movie has a few funny moments thanks to Allison Janney and Catherine Keener, but it's ultimately not satisfying.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas in the air, I don't even feel the holiday cheer!  I need something much funnier than this to keep me laughing.  The Oranges gets a 0.09% rating.  Have a few screwdrivers with this one.