The Oranges (2011)

Comedy, Drama, Romance
Leighton Meester, Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Allison Janney
The enduring friendship between the Walling and Ostroff families is tested when Nina, the prodigal Ostroff daughter, returns home for the holidays after a five-year absence and enters into an affair with David, head of the Walling family.
Despite the efforts of its accomplished cast, The Oranges suffers from a mediocre script that fails to deliver well-rounded characters, dramatic tension, or sufficient laughs.
  • ATO Pictures Company:
  • R Rated:
  • IMDB link IMDB:
  • 05 Oct 2012 Released:
  • 07 May 2013 DVD Release:
  • $0.4M Box office:

Trailer:

Rules, Happiness and Selfishness7/10
In the conservative West Orange, New Jersey, the Ostroff and Walling families are very close to each other. David Walling (Hugh Laurie) and Terry Ostroff (Oliver Platt) are inseparable best friends and they use to run together everyday. David has problems with his wife Paige (Catherine Keener) and he frequently sleeps alone in the office. Their daughter Vanessa (Alia Shawkat) is a frustrated young woman since she was not well succeeded in her career of designer and their son Toby (Adam Brody) is moving to China in a temporary assignment. Terry's wife Cathy (Allison Janney) ignores him and their daughter Nina (Leighton Meester) moved to San Francisco five years ago.

Near the Thanksgiving, Nina's boyfriend Ethan (Sam Rosen) betrays her in her birthday party and Nina returns to the house of her parents. Nina has frictions with her mother and she stays close to David. Soon they have an affair and fall in love with each other, turning the lives of people close to them upside-down.

"The Oranges" is an original movie about rules, happiness and selfishness. The story shows how selfish people are in an unusual situation that does not follow the establishment. Paige is estranged from David and they are living in separate beds, keeping up appearances. But when David finds a young woman that brings happiness to his life, she has very selfish attitudes instead of divorcing him. Vanessa is a frustrated woman and when she sees the happiness of her father, she never tries to understand and supports him. Ethan is a complete douchebag and Leighton Meester is an adorable young woman. The reaction of Nina's parents is what the viewer would expect from the parents. The conclusion is decent and well resolved. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Filha do Meu Melhor Amigo" ("The Daughter of My Best Friend")
It's not that long from May to December5/10
So a guy whose marriage is on the rocks gets together with a girl who has just broken up with her fiancee after she catches him cheating. Yawn? Oh, wait, did I forget to mention that the guy David (Hugh Laurie) is twice as old as the girl Nina (Leighton Meester), who happens to be the daughter of David's best friend Terry (Oliver Platt), and that the two families live across the street from each other? And it gets better: David's daughter Vanessa (Alia Shawkat ) used to be best friends with Nina, and his son Toby (Adam Brodie) is romantically interested in Nina.

Now you have the premise of "The Oranges". But is this just another movie about naughty May-December relationships (of which the best-in-class is undoubtedly "The Graduate")? Not really. The relationship itself is basically a given. It happens quickly at the beginning of the movie, and is almost immediately discovered by Nina's meddling mother (Allison Janney). But rather than ending with this discovery, the film really begins here, exploring the conflicted views of society (or at least of American society) toward such relationships through the lens of the tragicomic reactions of the two families and a few friends. These reactions, which range from awkward to furious, form the heart of the warm, funny, and occasionally touching screenplay by Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss.

Some viewers may be dismayed by the moral neutrality of the film. But since when did an intimate relationship between consenting adults, one of whom happens to be unhappily married, require the Hollywood plot line to issue a strong moral condemnation? In general, not since the 1950's, but should there be an exception in this case? What about the May- December thing? And the other lives that were changed -- were they changed for better or worse?

Whatever you think about all the questions it raises, I hope you appreciate the spot-on performances by the entire cast, and that you find The Oranges to be as enjoyable and thought-provoking as I did.
I would prefer lemons over oranges4/10
¨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 likable 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 Carol (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 likable 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.

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No lemon8/10
I saw this movie with zero previous knowledge and it really impressed me. Two neighbouring families in New Jersey (in an area known as The Oranges because the cities there all have the term Orange in their names -- hence the title of the movie) live harmonically next to each other. The children have grown up together, the men go jogging together, they celebrate the holidays together. They have normal problems -- one daughter doesn't seem to get on with her life, the other plans to marry a deadbeat, then breaks up with him because she caught him cheating on her. Her meddling mother wants to hook her up with their neighbour's A-student son, but the wayward daughter opts for his dad (played by Hugh Laurie) instead. Actually, a plausible choice at that point. She's fed up with college boys, needs stability, and they do care for each other. Her new manfriend feels rejuvenated since his marriage has been in the doldrums for some time. After the unlikely lovebirds have kissed, and even before their first date in a no-tell-motel, their budding affair is exposed. And a lot of hell breaks loose.

The movie plays out a conundrum scenario. On the one hand, there's nothing wrong with an loving relationship between two consenting adults, right? Nina, the girl hooking up with her family guy neighbour, says it herself in one scene: "But what if there was no wrong? ... There is no wrong." On the other hand, the very proximity between all persons involved turns against the love affair between Nina and David (family guy). David's daughter feels this most acutely: she doesn't want to become a nagging moralizer for family values. On the other hand, she doesn't want her former schoolmate Nina to become her new stepmom either.

I find this a great movie about an interesting moral dilemma.
Amusing9/10
Although this film does not have a complicated plot or much depth, I thought it was fun and found myself smiling all the way through. If you are looking for a simple and amusing film this is the one for you.

The story observes many real life feelings and situations even if it does cross over into the surreal sometimes. It doesn't have the scripted feeling that so many comedies seem to fall into and keeps a jovial feeling without leaving you cringing.

I thought Hugh Laurie was brilliant as House and I have wanted to see him in other things but was put off by the rating on this film. It is never going to be an epic but it is fantastic for what it is. A true feel good movie if you are in the mood for a dose of reality and can put aside some scepticism.