There’s no such thing as an over-familiar story. There’s just a story that its creators haven’t figured out a way to make fresh or new, or valuable, or even valid. There is “The Oranges.” British director Julian Farino’s 2011 comedy sets suburban New Jersey next-door neighbors on each others’ throats and our nerves when a black sheep returns for Thanksgiving. And boy, isn’t a teenage protagonist’s explanatory voiceover always welcome, just to clarify the muddy waters just a little? It’s a terrible, terrible film that thinks it’s funny when it’s just crass, and makes a convincing case that it’s really, really simple to waste a cast the likes of Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Hugh Laurie, Leighton Meester, Alia Shawkat and Adam Brody. Broad comedy? More like a “board” comedy, as in a two-by-four upside the head. Painful. Pitiful. Oh my. The bizarrely misjudged music by Klaus Badelt and Andrew Raiher is like having a stranger spit into a wound. 92m. (Ray Pride)
“The Oranges” opens Friday at Landmark Century and Renaissance.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published soon. Previews of the project are on Twitter and on Instagram as Ghost Signs Chicago. More photography on Instagram.