The Oranges (2011)

The Oranges (2011)
The Oranges (2011) DVD/Blu-Ray

By: Felix Felicis (Two Beers) –
How many beers do you recommend for this movie?
1 Beer! A Toast! Great Movie!2 Beers! Good Movie!3 Beers! Okay Movie!4 Beers! Mediocre Movie!5 Beers! Awful Movie!6-Pack! Bad movie! Do not be Sober!

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I have to admit, I was a little gun-shy after my last Indie encounter with Liberal Arts. I saw this film in the store and I flirted with it a little, circled it for awhile like a shark ready to strike and finally gave in to my raging daddy issues a few days later and bought the film sight-unseen. What can I say? The eternal optimist in my head had the cynical bitch who usually runs the show in a choke hold long enough for me to buy The Oranges.

daddyissues
Story of my LIFE.

Life is messy. And unpredictable. And unfair. And worth every fucking minute of it. It’s easy to accept the direction your life takes and even easier to resign yourself to a future where excitement and intrigue take a backseat to the warmth and safety of the predictable. That’s some esoteric shit right there, y’all. Give me a beer and a cheatin’ ex-boyfriend and I’m one pickup truck away from turning straight country. But I digress.

The Oranges follows two families of lifelong friends, the Walling’s and the Ostroff’s, as they approach the holidays in typical suburban fashion before shit goes awry in a dramatic debacle of epic proportions. Long-lost daughter Nina Ostroff returns home after her world, and longtime relationship, implodes and immediately falls into an affair with her father’s best friend. The film chronicles the change that happens in the lives of everyone involved. Filled with the awkward, the painful, the amusing and the unexpected, The Oranges will keep you guessing (right up until the end) more than The Lohan’s sexual orientation.

Eeeny, Meeney, Miney, Mo… Will she suck or will she blow? Both. The answer is both.

A Toast

There is a depth and clarity to The Oranges that allows you to be drawn into the world of the Ostroff’s and the Walling’s rather quickly (and gloss over many of the bumps that pop up along the way). Hugh Laurie has never let me down; not as Dr. House and not as David Walling. While at times morose and slightly befuddled, Laurie manages to make David both believable and relatable. It’s refreshing to actually give a shit about the characters in a film. The rest of the cast deliver solid performances that anchor and center around the two leads admirably. But where The Oranges really shines is in the awkward, and at times incredibly painful, realism.

Yeah. I'd let this guy take my temperature... The fun way.
Yeah. I’d let this guy take my temperature… The fun way.

The chemistry between David and Nina is effortlessly charming and simultaneously supremely awkward; showcasing the authenticity that so often plagues May/December romances. The Oranges takes that and cranks the dial all the way up to eleven by throwing in family dynamics and drama worthy of a Shakespearean tragedy… Or at least an episode of Real Housewives. Watching David and Nina’s relationship blossom from sheer escapism, to possibly something more, kept me wholly engaged in the film and events playing out on-screen. Also worthy of mention are a couple of unsung gems, cinematic afterthoughts who manage to steal focus whenever they appear; Maya and Henry. Vanessa’s furniture store co-workers inject much need levity every time The Oranges starts getting weighed down by all the angst and pathos flying around.

Beer Two

The plot fell into place a little too easily and the stars aligned (or misaligned) for the characters almost too pat and perfectly to say that this was a truly original experience. Though somewhat formulaic, The Oranges was saved by a stellar cast taking the material they were given and transforming it into a well-rounded effort that managed to entertain and please (while leaving you with more to think about after the film than what you sat down with).

Almost. Too. Easy.

Verdict

2beers

It’s never too late to come-of-age and watching The Oranges may not satisfy if you’re looking for a traditional happy ending, though you’ll definitely enjoy the ride regardless.

america  pie
The proof is in the pudding… Or pie, so to speak.

Drinking Game

Take a Drink: anytime you’re treated to a monologue from Morgan Freeman’s whiter, more vagina-y counterpart in narration, Vanessa.

Take a Drink: whenever Thanksgiving and/or Christmas is mentioned.

Do a Shot: anytime you catch the carolers onscreen.

Take a Drink: for every new gadget.

Bonus Shot: whenever the gadgets don’t work.

For The Ladies: take a drink whenever you catch a glimpse of David’s bald spot and think “Enh, I’d still tap that”.

Shotgun a Beer: for the death of Frosty and other yuletide-related ornamentation.

About Felix Felicis

Filled with smart-assed sass and armed with the expletives to prove it, Felix Felicis is a critic adrift in a sea of dirty thoughts and tawdry humor. If you see her float by, toss Felix some beef jerky and a taser. She’ll take it from there.

One comment

  1. Nice review. I was on the fence for this one but I’ll be sure to check it out now!

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