Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks) is a surfie would be college boy like all his friends in Orange County, where the sun 'n surf lifestyle is the only way to go. Until one day Shaun finds a book buried in the sand, a novel called Straight jacket by Marcus Skinner (Kevin Kline) captivates him and triggers his interest. With a purpose, he now wants to be a writer, and applies to Stanford. A mix up in his papers sees him rejected and dejected. But he’s not through yet, even though his girlfriend Ashley (Schuyler Fisk) and his possessive, slightly neurotic and wine-imbibing mother (Catherine O’Hara) are happy he’s staying around. His ever-stoned brother Lance (Jack Black) and his newly re-married father (John Lithgow) don’t seem to care either way.

There`s a sweetness about this film, plus some really funny scenes...

Shaun, played by Tom Hanks` son, Colin, lives by the beach in Orange County, California, with his alcoholic mother, Cindy, Catherine O`Hara, and his permanently stoned older brother, Lance, Jack Black. His parents are divorced and his father, Bud, John Lithgow, a rich businessman, lives with his much younger wife and their baby. Cindy has re-married too, a rich but geriatric man confined to a wheelchair. Shaun`s buddies are all surfers, into dope and girls; at least Shaun has a sensible girlfriend, Ashley, played by Schuyler Fisk, Sissy Spacek`s daughter. Shaun just wants to be a writer, and to enrol at Stanford, but everything seems to conspire against him.

At a time when most teen comedies are flagrantly vulgar and simply not very funny, Orange County stands out as being quite a lot better than the average. It was directed by Jake Kasdan, son of director Lawrence Kasdan, and, as you can tell from the casting of the leads, there`s a lot of new generation Hollywood talent involved. Kasdan has assembled a great cast, with small roles for Lily Tomlin, Chevy Chase, Harold Ramis, Garry Marshall and an uncredited Kevin Kline. And Jane Adams is very funny as a Stanford receptionist who succumbs to Jack Black`s charms. There`s a sweetness about this film, plus some really funny scenes, which set it apart from most other teen comedies today, so it`ll probably be a commercial failure ` but it`s well worth checking out.