So much was just not right with this film: The Oranges. Firstly Leighton Meester as Nina the Homewrecker just did not make much sense. She has too many predictable gestural tics that remind you of Blair Waldorf and with her petite frame she looks younger than the 24-year old man-eater she is playing.
We have the Ostroff and Walling family who have a daughter each: Nina Ostroff used to be best friends with the Walling’s daughter Vannessa. The daughters face the pitfalls of Generation X and move back to parents house in the quaint Essex county in New Jersey.
What makes the film so uncomfortable is that Mr Walling falls for his daughter’s ex-best friend, who he has known since she was a kid! Also as great an actor as Hugh Laurie is, he’s just not the right guy for the role, someone more handsome should’ve played him like Dennis Quaid. It is simply not believable that the pretty Nina would fall for a friend’s Dad who looks like Hugh Laurie (sorry Hugh!)
Another unsatisfying element of the film is that there appears to be no attraction between the married man and the homewrecker. It starts off with a few glances here and there and one kiss. From that [insert spoiler] a relationship grows between the two and Vanessa’s parents split up. Nina’s Dad Terry thereby loses his dear friend and things get awkward and it just does not seem worth it. There’s seems no prior dissatisfaction between the cheating husband and his wife. Although the scorned wife Paige Walling eventually finds her calling and works with a charity. Unless of course we are to assume that in the Walling’s marriage there was something wrong and nobody had the guts to admit it. Or perhaps couples attempt to forge normality and forget to be themselves and explore life. Mr Walling and Mrs Walling end up being happier apart. It would be false to assume that the end of their marriage caused them to be happier. It is less about marriage and more about the fact that we lose ourselves in things outside of us from careers to a significant other. When we break apart from our illusory dependencies such as workaholism or dedication to a partner life does get better.
The only highlights of them film are the set designs and Adam Brody’s charming scenes- though we do not see enough of him in the film. It’s also set in the run up to Christmas and has quite a cosy feel. Adam Brody plays Toby who is the same age as the girls though work sends him off to China and you’re just screaming at the screen that he will get back because he and Nina are an ideal match! They also got together in real life after meeting on set.
A main point of criticism I find with many films is that the lovers never seem to appear compelled towards each other, I didn’t want Nina and David to get together it was an uncredible love story. If the half-his-age love interest was instead the daughter of the new neighbors whom he sees and desires and subsequently certain scenarios occur whereby they put together i.e. she gets a job at his company or they go to the same gym as if fate has brought them closer then that would be easy to accept. All in all a boring film.
There weren’t many amusing moments. The lack of chemistry between the main characters is a downer. There are some crazy moments in the film and I guess the lesson is to not end up like boring and passive Mrs Paige Walling. But even if we do it is never too late to change gears.