Orange County (2002) - Synopsis

orange county - frontpage graphic

Orange County, as one of the region's websites exclaims, ". .. is a fantastic slice of the California way of life . .. It has long been famous for its family-oriented theme parks, charming seaside communities, and the citrus groves that gave the area its name. The natural surroundings may not be as inspiring as other parts of the state, but the specially created attractions are enchanting. Aside from cutting inland to visit the theme parks, the best way to enjoy Orange County is by sticking to its coast. The beaches of Orange County perfectly exemplify the California attitude of fun in the sun!"

That has always been good enough for Shaun Brumder. An affable teenager with a serious love of surfing, Shaun's aspirations are only as high as the perfect wave. He has good buddies and a sweet girlfriend, and while his family has its eccentricities, overall his life is pretty good.

That idyllic existence changes irrevocably one day. A friend's freak surfing accident causes Shaun to reassess things, and as he ponders, he discovers a treasure. Buried in the familiar sand, almost as if it is waiting for Shaun, is a copy of Marcus Skinner's novel Straight Jacket. He reads it . .. and re-reads it, obsessively. Epiphany strikes. His destiny is not on a surfboard. He has a new passion. Shaun Brumder wants to be a writer.

He swiftly composes a story and sends it to his new idol, Marcus Skinner, who teaches at Stanford University. Shaun hopes to study there under Skinner and, amazingly, he has a good shot. He trades surfing for classes. His extracurricular activities become more college-friendly. His grades improve. His high school transcript is impeccable and his SAT scores are terrific. The letter from Stanford finally comes. Stanford University has rejected Shaun Brumder.

Shaun is devastated. How could this happen? A little investigation leads to a big mistake, courtesy of his high school guidance counselor. Undeterred, Shaun will find a way to fix this, even though he only has 24 hours to do it. He simply has to get into Stanford, especially now that he sees the horror that is his life in Orange County: an over-emotional, co-dependent mother who is constantly unhinged by the thought of his leaving home, a distant, critical father who thinks his son's dream of becoming a writer is ridiculous, an impulsive brother, Lance, whose chemically enhanced and often unbalanced existence is just, well, infuriating. Is he even related to these people?

Yes, he is. In their own dysfunctional, alarming way, they all try to help him on his quest to get to Stanford. While his family's unusual assistance may unnerve him, in the end, Shawn Brumder learns some important lessons that can't be taught at any school.

Paramount Pictures presents "Orange County," an MTV Films/Scott Rudin Production, starring Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Catherine O'Hara, Schuyler Fisk, John Lithgow with Lily Tomlin. The film is directed by Jake Kasdan and produced by Scott Rudin, Van Toffler, David Gale and Scott Aversano. The film is written by Mike White and executive produced by Herb Gains and Adam Schroeder. Paramount Pictures and MTV Films are part of the entertainment operations of Viacom Inc. , one of the world's largest entertainment and media companies and a leader in the production, promotion and distribution of entertainment, news, sports and music. This film is not yet rated.