Leaden and cliché-riddled, The Oranges is, for starters, not about the four neighboring townships in New Jersey. There are no emerald green lawns in New Jersey in December (and it was filmed in New Rochelle). No, it’s about two neighboring dysfunctional families—instead of just one—who live across the street from each other. David and Paige Walling (Hugh Laurie and Catherine Keener) have been best friends with Terry and Carol Ostroff (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney) for years. They exercise, barbecue, raise their kids and celebrate Christmas together, and frankly it’s as boring to them as it is to the viewer. Paige is obsessed with Christmas and spends too much time shopping for ornaments and organizing her choir of carol-singing flakes to pay much attention to David, who holes up every night in front of his TV set in his off-limits “man cave.” (Shades of Tommy Lee Jones in the brighter, far superior Hope Springs.) Their marriage has hit a speed bump, and one of the many things wrong with this movie is that nobody ever bothers to explain why.
But things are about to change in the teeth-clenching dramedy of a TV sitcom, when the Ostroffs’ daughter Nina (Leighton Meester) returns home after five years away at college (Huh? No summer vacations or Thanksgiving reunions in five years?) and a hippie romance that has just hit the rocks, and starts sleeping with Mr. Walling, who is more than twice her age. Read More