Directed by Jake Kasdan starring Colin Hanks, Jack Black, Schuyler Fisk, Catherine O'Hara and John Lithgow.

Before the serious roles, plaudits and Oscars, Tom Hanks could be seen in such throwaway 80's comedies as 'Splash' and 'Bachelor Party'. Now son Colin's getting in on the act: supporting in last year's likeable 'Get Over It' and taking the lead role in 'Orange County'.

He plays Shaun Brumder, a Californian surfer turned scholar with dreams of going to top college Stanford and becoming a writer. He gets the grades too, but his addled career guidance teacher sends the right results but the wrong name on his application, leaving Shaun to face a degree in the local no-hoper college while his dumb classmate Shane Brainard looks forward to a sojourn in Stanford. Determined that nothing should get in the way of Shaun's dream, his girlfriend Ashley and stoner brother Lance (Black) set about trying to get him back his rightful place.

Cameos galore (Chevy Chase, Ben Stiller, Kevin Kline, Lily Tomlin, Harold Ramis), songs all over it and gags you can see coming, yet somehow 'Orange County' still puts a smile on your face. Much of it is down to Hanks, whose performance with the thin script suggests bigger and better lies ahead. He also has good back-up from Fisk and the show stealing Black, as the layabout turned love god.

But the longer you watch, the more you wonder why Kasdan didn't go for more scenes between the hirsute one and Hanks, because when they're together onscreen, 'Orange County' really comes alive. At just 82 minutes, there was another half-hour of jokes waiting to be mined from the mismatched duo and Kasdan and writer Mike White's inability to make the most of this talent is the movie's biggest disappointment.

Still, the sight of Black burning down an entire admin block during a moment of passion would warm up any winter.

Harry Guerin