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Time Out says
A byword for laid-back Californian sun, sea and surf, Orange County is also home to Shaun Brumder (Hanks), an easygoing high school student whose life is changed when he discovers a book half-buried at the beach. Not just any book, but a Salinger-esque novel which Shaun rereads obsessively, and decides the writer's life is for him. First call is Stanford University, where the book's author is on the teaching staff. But when a rejection letter threatens his dream of academia, Shaun determines to overturn this injustice, even if it means seeking the help of his drug-fiend brother, chardonnay-dependent mum and estranged financier dad. There are two ways of looking at this affectionate portrait of culturally challenged youth. You could, for instance, be quietly charmed that MTV Films has made a movie about the call of literature, and lightly amused by screenwriter Mike White's conceit that said call is heard by a sweet-natured individual not ideally placed to cope with it. On the other hand, the urine-quaffing gags and hearty barfing asides are the lowbrow price extracted for such gestures towards semi-intelligence.