I’ve gone from one unloved box-office flop – Not Fade Away – to another – The Oranges. The two movies share several similarities:
- Both movies focused on kids growing up in NYC exurbia.
- Both movies were fronted by an adult TV star – Not Fade Away had James Gandolfini while The Oranges has Hugh Laurie.
- Both movies were first shown at a film festival before a limited release that returned pennies on the dollar of their original cost, with The Oranges returning only $366k returned on a cost of $7 million.
At least the critics liked Not Fade Away (70% approval). Only 33% of the critics liked The Oranges. I agree with the 33%.
The Oranges is about two interesting couples and their kids. Their seemingly idyllic existence is blown-up when one of their prodigal children returns home and kindles a romantic interest in one of the parents. The prodigal is Leighton Meester (she is every bit as good as Bella Heathcoate in Not Fade Away), and she describes her on-screen relationship with Hugh Laurie as follows:
- “This is not a relationship that’s meant to be lusty and inappropriate. It is a connection that the two of them have felt probably for some time; they’ve just never acted on it. He brings out the adult, grown, mature, developed side of her, and she brings out the free-spirited, happy-go-lucky kid in him.”
Well said. One final similarity between the two movies – their weird endings call out for a sequel. But what are the chances with an audience that didn’t enjoy it and investors who lost their shirts.
I give the movie three and a half stars out of four.