The Oranges Blu-ray

As someone that has lived in both houses and apartments I can honestly say that, when all of the planets are aligned, having neighbors is a great thing.  If you draw the right card and you’re fortunate enough to live next to the right people you can sometimes find yourself making life-long friends. The wives can trade recipes while the kids grow up together, fostering their own long time friendships. Or maybe not.

The Oranges

Meet the Wallings family.  David (Laurie) and Paige (Catherine Keener) are the proud parents of two children:  son Toby (Adam Brody) and daughter Vanessa (Alia Shawkat). David earns his living by creating advertising campaigns for liquor companies and is, what one might call, an enthusiastic jogger. Next door you’ll find the Ostroffs. Terry (Oliver Platt), Carol (Janney) and their 24 year old daughter Nina (Meester). Terry is big on owning the best so he spends a lot of his time perusing through and purchasing anything highly recommended by Consumer Reports magazine.   Though he jogs with David, Terry does it with a lot less enthusiasm.  That being said, this is the suburbs.  That strange place where things aren’t always what they seem, and ANYTHING, even the improbable, is possible.

The Oranges

Set in the suburban town of West Orange, New Jersey (hence the film’s title), THE ORANGES is a small film that benefits from a sharp, well written script and a strong cast. Though the major plot line is easy to see coming (Nina and David become a couple) the circumstances leading up to, and following, the revelation isn’t hammered over your head. Nor does the situation feel forced.  It isn’t served up so as to shock the viewer.  It’s presented more as a “things happen” situation, sometimes when you’re not expecting them to. Laurie, in his “House” delivery, makes David an extremely likable fellow.  In fact, you like him so much that you don’t really fault him for his decision. It helps that Keener leaves no stone unturned in portraying  Paige as very unsympathetic.  On the Ostroff’s family side, Janney is perfect as the doting, over protective mother hen who’d rather her daughter wait to find Mr. Right and not rush off with Mr. Right Next Door.  Meester, who appeared opposite Gwyneth Paltrow in  COUNTRY STRONG and was a co-star on television’s “Gossip Girls,” plays Nina as a free spirited woman who isn’t concerned by what others think.

The Oranges

The screenplay, by first-time feature writers Jay Reiss and Ian Helfer, has plenty of small moments that fit easily together to form a full story. With this his second  feature, director Farino brings along an eye for ensemble film making, surely honed from helming episodes of such shows as ENTOURAGE, SEX & THE CITY and THE OFFICE.   Everyone has something to say and is given the time to say it, a trick perfected years ago by the great Robert Altman.  Though the film was advertised more as a comedy –  and it does have some very funny moments-   like the Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones film HOPE SPRINGS there is a lot going on beneath the laughter.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video:  The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio.   The colors are sharp yet subtle, be it the grays of winter or the sunshine of spring.

Audio:  Presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, the sound is quite clear.  This is a mostly dialogue driven film and you don’t miss a word.

Opening Doors (6:32):  A short featurette with the cast on-set talking about the film and its director.

Juicy Secrets (3:22):  An even shorter featurette with the cast in a more formal setting talking about the film and its director.

OVERALL 2.5
VERDICT:
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