Directed by Stu Zicherman and based on a script co-written by Zicherman and Ben Karlin, A.C.O.D stars Adam Scott, Jane Lynch Richard Perkins and Catherine O’Hara.
Carter (Scott) discovers that he was unknowingly the subject of a study about children of divorced parents. With the memory of the fateful day his parents publicly separated – on his ninth birthday – ingrained on his mind, Carter has had to endure a life where his parents refuse to speak to each other, or even be in the same room. When his younger brother gets engaged, it falls to Carter to get their parents to reconcile in the lead up to his wedding day. Unfortunately bringing his parents together opens up doors that should have stayed long closed, and he soon finds himself enlisting the help of his childhood therapist (Lynch) as a precaution. However it’s revealed that his so-called therapy sessions were actually case studies for a book entitled ‘Children of Divorce’ and that he’s inadvertently inspired a follow-up: ‘Adult Children of Divorce (‘A.C.O.D.’) .
Dealing with his own issues of commitment (an assumption we’re expected to make due to the fact that his parents separated) and his aversion to marriage in general (because apparently being worried about the speed at which your little brother is marrying a girl he’s only known for four months can only be attributed to being a child of divorce…), Carter sets out to prove that he hasn’t been affected by his parents warring.
A.C.O.D. is a great title, has the foundations of a premise and I genuinely believe that it could have been a funny, sharp film centered around a generation born of the baby boomers during the mid 70s and early 80s. These are the people holding the reins in the movie industry now, and yet this is a dull, low-key production. Which is a shame considering the talents involved including Ken Howard, Amy Poehler and Jessica Alba – all of whom are cast in woefully underused and arbitrary roles.
Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins star as the selfish, complex parents and it’s sad because they deserve so much more from a story (like layers upon layers of character storylining!) Jenkins is arguably at the peak of his career and O’Hara is miscast as the neurotic, unlikable mother.
Adam Scott, nice enough as he appears, and good enough as he is as a slightly more dry version of Paul Rudd, isn’t so much as awful as he is indifferent, and that’s so much worse. The character arc for all leaves a lot to be desired, in fact there’s hardly any substance behind any of them so I was never quite sure what the film was trying to say.
Maybe we’re not meant to like the people involved, but I’m pretty sure we’re meant to care. I didn’t care about any of them by the end of it. 2014 in film for me didn’t get off to a great start because I saw this film. I rest in the knowledge that by next week, I won’t even remember it.
[photo courtesy of: filmmakermagazine.com]