The Oranges (2012)
Fresh-squeezed laughs and sexy fun sweeten this critically-acclaimed comedy with an all-star cast, including Leighton Meester, Hugh Laurie, Oliver Platt and Catherine Keener. A suburban family’s rebellious daughter returns home for the holidays and starts an adulterous affair with a long-time family friend...leading to an outrageous scandal that may just change all of of their lives forever.
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The Oranges Blu-ray Review
Working on the premise that a beautiful much younger woman could fall for a very much older man The Oranges targets an audience that understands a mid-life crisis. Describing the film as a scandal of sex and betrayal by the producers, in this day and age where nothing's impossible The Oranges fails to shock. Even though the acting gets very good, I was hoping for a script with more originality and believability. Now on Blu-ray, it comes in a combo pack that includes a DVD/Digital copy and a code to stream and download called Ultra Violet.
The story centers on two families living in West Orange, New Jersey on Orange Drive in a well-kept neighborhood in the suburbs. The Wallings, David (Hugh Laurie) and Page (Catherine Keener) have two children Vanessa (Alia Shawkat) and Toby (Adam Brody) and have lived across from their best friends the Ostroff's, Terry (Oliver Platt) and Cathy (Allison Janney) with their absentee free spirited daughter Nina (Leighton Meester) for many years.
One day after a fiery break up with her fiancé Ethan (Sam Rosen) at her birthday party in San Francisco Nina returns home to seek solace. Never very close to her mom, she returns, with much angst, on the pretense of spending Thanksgiving with the family. After a short return period Cathy feels that her daughter can do much better than Ethan and pushes her to go out with neighbor Toby since they had some history together while in High School. When she avoids any real relationship with Toby and starts flirting with his father David, a midlife crisis love affair begins involving the impulsive early twenties Nina and the surprised 50-year-old family man.
The reactions on each side of the families create some laughter, disdain and even emotional acceptance for a time, but as the movie plays out it becomes more of a fight with most everyone taking sides. I like the way Oliver Platt handles his character Terry who although upset that his best friend has robbed his cradle, has another side with thoughts of his own midlife changes. Allison Janney takes her character a little scary over the top, but in this case it's certainly expected.
But the beater in the mixing bowl of life turns out to be Vanessa (Alia Shawkat) who was close to Nina as BFF in high school before she got snubbed by her for the ‘in' crowd. She has become livid now that Nina has stolen her father. Shawkat puts on a great show with her rants and disbelief. She's the most believable character in the room, as both Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener miss big time with their David and Page roles.
The Oranges has been rated R by the MPAA for language including sexual references, and some drug use. If anything the film doesn't rise about PG-13 with the absence of any real sexual intimacy. Be cautious when deciding to allow immature children see the film as it does have some scenes that may be inappropriate for younger children.
The disc has two special features:
"Opening Doors: Inside the Oranges"- with Director Julian Farino and the cast who introduce their roles, talk about some key scenes and add some comical quips about things that happened during the production.
"Juicy Secrets"- this behind the scenes bonus features comments from the whole cast about their work with Director Farino, and each other of a sometimes personal nature; like, Hugh Laurie came to the set each day riding a motor cycle.
In addition to the special features is the ability to instantly stream and download the film to your smart phone, computer, tablet and TV in a process called Ultra Violet. This is a handy tool along with Digital Copy that allows you to transfer the movie to those media with the use of iTunes.
The video quality on the Blu-ray is extremely good and if you play the DVD through good equipment you'll get a similar experience. The 1.85:1 aspect ratio does a good job of presenting the whole theatrical image on HD televisions. The colors are nice and the image is crisp and clear.
The audio using the Blu-ray DTS Master Audio 5.1 is crystal clear and provides an enjoyable experience. You can hear all the dialogue distinctly. For the hearing impaired the disc has English SDH that can be easily turned on at the movie's intro station under set-up.
FINAL ANALYSIS: The film's lack of creativity may give an impression that it's a "soap". (C+)
-- John Delia
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