CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"The Oranges" are molding in Jersey

Set in upper bougeiousis New Jersey, **The Oranges** forcuses on the Walling and Ostroff families. Narrated by the depressing Vanessa Walling (Alia Shawkat), she explains how she worked hard in college, only to end up in her parents home. David (Hugh Laurie) and Paige Walling (Catherine Keener) are financially stable people who are actively involved in their community.

As part of the neighborhood ritual, David jogs with Terry Ostroff (Oliver Platt) three times a week. Career driven Carol Ostroff (Alison Janney) is concerned about her party girl daughter Nina (Leighton Meester), who used to be Vanessa's BFF -Best Friend Forever.

In their high school days, Nina seduced a boy that Vanessa was infatuated with. The young women's relationship is further strained when Nina seduces Vanessa's father, David Ostroff, on Thanksgiving Day.

**The Oranges** details how much life can happen between Thanksgiving Holidays until Christmas time. Based on the scenery, one expects a dramatic film dealing with the holiday season, much like **Christmas in Connecut** or **Miracle on 34th Street.**

Unlike the warmth one felt from created by actors like Maureen O'Hara, Donna Reed and Edmund Gwen in the old days, the characters who inhabit **The Oranges** are hallow individuals. This is not to say that Hugh Laurie, Alison Janney, Oliver Platt and Catherine Keener do not give good performances, it is that writers Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss wrote such shallow characters.

When the climatic scenes arrive, they feel flat and at times repitious. It is only the comic timing between Keener, Platt, Janney and Laurie that force a few well timed chuckles.

That is too bad, because the ending actually has something important to say about family, friendship and the passage of time.
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