Top positive review
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Surprisingly pleasant family drama/comedy
on November 9, 2012
"The Oranges" (2012 release; 90 min.) brings the story of two married couples living across the street from each other. There is Terry and Cathy Ostroff (played by Oliver Platt and Allison Janney). Terry and Cathy are best friends with David and Paige Walling (played by Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener), whose marriage is not going well and whose twenty-something yr. old daughter Vanessa still lives with them. This is in sharp contrast with Terry and Cathy's daughter (and Vanessa's childhood friend) Nina (played by Leighton Meester), who is living "la vida loca" in San Francisco. Things go unexpectedly sour for Nina who, tails between her legs, moves in with her parents. The two families are enjoying their time together, until Nina and David develop a crush on each other (despite their significant age difference). At that point we are about one-third into the movie, and to tell you more of the plot would simply ruin your viewing experience. But as you can well imagine, all kinds of crazy situations develop from there, some of them funny, others bittersweet, and yet other moments outright sad.
Several comments: Hugh Laurie (yes, he of the "House" TV series) shows again with this performance how versatile he really is. (Remember a year ago he released an album "Let Them Talk", which was critically well-received.) I'm sure it had to be a relief for Laurie to be playing a character so vastly different from "House". However, Catherine Keener and Oliver Platt also bring choice performances. It's difficult to assess Leighton Meester, as it is hard to make that leap of faith to see what she sees in David, who is twice her age. Also it is a bit strange that the movie was released in early October (when I saw it at the Landmark E Street Theatre in Washington), as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays play a significant role in the movie.
All that aside, the bottom line is that this movie is more than just a 'romantic comedy', as the movie brings home some poignant moments. I found myself enjoying this movie a lot more than I had expected. If you are in the mood for one of those "little indie movies that could", "The Oranges" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!