¨I´m your ex girlfriend´s boyfriend´s wife.¨
I´d rather sit through an hour long episode of Dr. House, The OC, or Gossip Girl rather than watch this film starring some of the actors from the above mentioned series. The Oranges was directed by Julian Farino, who I had never heard of before this film. I actually went to see this film because I thought it had an interesting cast. The biggest flaw of The Oranges was its screenplay; written by Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss. The dramedy never quite manages to feel authentic and everything felt like a complete farce. The dialogue in this film felt very light considering the subject matter and the comedic moments weren’t effective. The relationships didn’t feel real either, although I must admit that the friendship between Laurie´s character and Platt´s was probably the strongest thing about this movie. Beside the three TV stars: Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, and Adam Brody, the film also stars Allison Janney and Catherine Keener whom I always thought looked very much alike. These are all very likeable actors, but they were given some really underdeveloped characters and the film never really rang true to me. Other films have tackled this subject matter in much better ways. Examples that come to mind for me are The Graduate and American Beauty, but this movie doesn’t even come close to what those films achieved. Despite how much I wanted to like this movie because of the actors, I had a hard time watching this. I would pick any of their television series over this film anytime.
The film focuses on the relationship between two Jersey families. On the one hand, we have David (Hugh Laurie) and Paige Walling (Catherine Keener) who have two children: Vanessa (Alia Shawkat) and Toby (Adam Brody), and then we are introduced to their neighbors, the Ostroff´s, consisting of Terry (Oliver Platt) and Kathy (Allison Janney). Terry and David have been best friends for a long time, and their families get together often. The Ostroff’s have a daughter named Nina (Leighton Meester) who decides to return home after five years for the Holidays. Her presence will change things when she falls in love with David. The two begin seeing each other and it has a tremendous effect on both families. Nina convinces David that there are no rules to happiness, but at the same time his decision affects everyone around him. When Paige finds out about this relationship she confronts David and soon everyone’s life is affected by this relationship.
The film doesn’t seem to take sides on the moral issue, but it doesn’t ever feel like it takes things seriously either. The entire film felt like a complete waste of time. The relationship between David and Nina never felt authentic and there was no chemistry whatsoever between them. The film really suffers from a poor script and the likeable actors aren’t enough to save this film. The narration of the film didn’t work for me either and I felt like it was simply used to simplify things. The question the film seems to be raising is whether it is really worth doing whatever makes you happy without measuring the consequences and how it can affect the rest of the people around you. At first it seems as if it agrees with this premise, but later their consequences catch up with them. Some characters seem to be better off, but things never remain the same. I think I am getting a little too philosophical for a film that really didn’t take itself too seriously, but I definitely felt that something was completely off with The Oranges. It is an awkward film and one I wouldn’t recommend.