A.C.O.D. (R15)

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The ViewDunedin Review

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Review byMatthew Turner5/05/2013

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 87 mins

Likeable and frequently funny comedy enlivened by a superb comic cast, though it's ultimately a little too formulaic and doesn't really explore the full potential of its premise.

What's it all about?
Directed by Stuart Zicherman, A.C.O.D. (which stands for Adult Children Of Divorce) stars Parks and Recreation's Adam Scott as Carter, a successful restaurant owner whose brother Trey (Clark Duke) impulsively proposes to his new girlfriend and asks Carter to try and persuade their long divorced parents (Richard Jenkins as Hugh and Catherine O'Hara as Melissa) to start speaking to each other again so that they can both attend the wedding. All this stirs up anxiety for Carter and when he goes to see Dr Judith (Jane Lynch), the woman he thought was his childhood therapist, he discovers that he was unknowingly a part of a study on divorced children, a study Dr Judith is now keen to follow up on, under the title Adult Children of Divorce.

Things get increasingly stressful after Carter's attempts at mediation result in his parents beginning a torrid affair, despite both being remarried, Hugh to a wealthy woman Carter's age (Amy Poehler as Sondra) and Melissa to thrice-married nice-guy Gary (Ken Howard). Meanwhile, as Carter begins to realise just how badly his parents have actually screwed him up, he has to confront his own fear of commitment in his relationship with yoga teacher Lauren (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).

The Good
Adam Scott is a talented comedic actor with a great line in deadpan sarcasm and he's on fine form here, though you do occasionally feel that the part might have been better served by an actor capable of losing his temper in comedy fashion – Scott's more of a wry eyebrow-raiser in that regard. The supporting cast, however, are excellent, particularly Richard Jenkins and Catherine O'Hara, who have strong comic chemistry together; the scene where they arrive at a restaurant seconds apart (clearly post-shag) for a meet-the-in-laws dinner and fake their way through their outrage at the other person being there too is one of several highlights.

There's also typically strong work from Lynch, Duke and Winstead, though Scott's Parks and Rec co-star Poehler is rather wasted as Sondra and Jessica Alba is underused in a promising cameo as a tattooed fellow A.C.O.D. who takes a fancy to Carter.

The Bad
The film takes the intriguing step of having crew members discuss their parents' divorces over the end credits, so, given the weight accorded to the film's theme, it's a shame that the script never fully explores its premise, with several ideas feeling underdeveloped, especially with regard to Alba's character. On a related note, the film's ending is disappointingly formulaic, though the clever final shot is a nice touch.

Worth seeing?
A.C.O.D. is a likeable comedy that's worth seeing for its strong comic cast, though the story doesn't quite achieve the emotional impact suggested by the premise.

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A.C.O.D. (R15)
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Content updated: 18/10/2017 11:13

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