Orange County

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Orange County Movie Poster Image
Stupid movie pushes boundaries of PG-13.
  • PG-13
  • 2002
  • 81 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Implicit message to work hard toward your goal rather than resort to crazy schemes to get your way.

Positive Role Models

Shaun's goofy stoner brother and nice girlfiend are unwaveringly loyal to him. His lousy, selfish, and misbehaving parents need to get a clue.


Comic peril and injury (including death in a surfing accident). One character accidentally burns down a building. Things fall on the head of a sick man.


Sexual situations, kissing, voyeurism.


Strong language for PG-13, including one "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drug and alcohol humor throughout the movie.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that despite the PG-13 rating there's a lot of material they may consider inappropriate. Abuse of alcohol and drugs is portrayed as normal and funny. While on drugs, a character drives dangerously, has casual sex, and sets a building on fire, also intended to be comic. Some kissing, including a same-sex kiss. A character is accidentally given drugs. Another pretends to be asleep so he can watch a couple have sex. Horrendous parenting by main character Shaun's parents is played for laughs. One character blackmails a friend by threatening to expose her slutty behavior.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byvicky92 September 14, 2009

come my lady, come come my lady

Such a funny movie, I think it's fine to watch it with younger teens but as long as there's a parent there supervising to skip the sexual parts lol.... Continue reading
Adult Written byUmmmok July 30, 2020

Very funny movie, and a great coming of age story. The main characters growth juxtaposed against the silly humor of Jack Black and others is a wonderful combination.

This film is funny, but underneath the real story is about dealing with loss, accepting who you are, seeing beauty and value in people whom the main character h... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bykittiesandpuppies December 29, 2021

Refreshing and Brilliant Movie Perfect for Teens

Truly underrated, Orange County has some adult content, as well as extreme language and drug use. However, it is fine for teens and very enjoyable.
Teen, 17 years old Written byCommonR April 19, 2020


This movie is for kids and teenagers and adults the movie is so funny has some cursing only one f**k and everything else is fine it was great totally recommend... Continue reading

What's the story?

ORANGE COUNTY centers on Shaun Brumder (Colin Hanks), a high school senior whose mother (Catherine O'Hara) is an alcoholic, whose father (John Lithgow) is too busy making deals to pay any attention to him, and whose brother Lance (Jack Black) is a stoner "constantly recovering from the night before." Shaun also has a sweet, animal-loving girlfriend named Ashley (Schuyler Fisk). Shaun wants to be a writer and his dream is to go to Stanford because his idol, Marcus Skinner (Kevin Kline), teaches there. But when his addled college counselor (Lily Tomlin) sends the wrong transcript, he's rejected. So Shaun, Lance, and Ashley drive up to Stanford to meet with the director of admissions (Harold Ramis) to try to persuade him to let Shaun in. Unfortunately, they accidentally feed him some of Lance's drugs and burn down the Admissions Office. Eventually, Shaun spends a few moments with his idol and, like Dorothy, learns that there's no place like home.

Is it any good?

Hanks and Fisk, as the ostensible force of sanity at the heart of the movie, don't get much of a chance to prove themselves as actors, but they have some presence. Black, as always, even with terrible material, is a joy to watch. There are also talented actors in small roles -- including O'Hara, Lithgow, Tomlin, and Ramis, as well as Chevy Chase, Ben Stiller, and especially Kevin Kline, who has a very nice scene with Hanks.

This movie begins with a comic death in a surfing accident, followed by a funeral at which female mourners wear black bikinis. Drugs and drunkenness are rampant and casual. Slaptick gags include forgetting to give a sick man his medicine and then having a lot of things hit him on the head. Shaun is the straight man, surrounded by a horrendously dysfunctional family but loved by his stoner brother and supportive girfriend.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what really goes into applying to college and how people respond to terrible family situations.

Movie details

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