The only true reason I decided to watch this film was because of Adam Scott, sure there are other big names, but it was really Adam Scott I went for. A.C.O.D. , which stands for Adult Children of Divorce is a farcical comedy about Carter (Adam Scott) who tries to save his brothers wedding and subsequently ruins his parents divorce. Now that might sound fun, but for the most part… It’s not. The cast is star-studded and quite a handful of those big names actually do great work, but it is essentially a poor screenplay and lousy direction turns this otherwise funny farce into a messy mash.
The cast is led by Adam Scott who plays the adult child of divorce, Carter. This movie is obviously not Scott’s best work by any standards (look no further than Parks and Recreation), but is a decent portrayal that offers a few moments and kind of draws the audience into the film. Richard Jenkins reprises his Step Brothers role as Carter’s father and does so fairly well in a rather Jeffrey Tambor-style of acting (not sure if that is actually a thing). Catherine O’Hara plays Carter’s mother and has decent chemistry with Jenkins and plays her own part fairly well, but not especially humorously. The highlights of this film however are Amy Poehler and Ken Howard as Jenkins and O’Hara’s spouses and Scott’s step-parents. These two already-accomplished actors have great moments and play roles that are otherwise fairly out of their comfort zone and do so well.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Scott’s love-interest and she’s okay, but falls into the ‘forgettable’ category. Clark Duke plays Scott’s less-intelligent brother and in the meantime manages to showcase his Josh Gad impression. Sadly Duke falters as he overplays a character that could otherwise have been a little funny or interesting. Valerie Tian plays Duke’s Japanese love interest and sadly her every joke seems to fall under a horribly racist and non-funny shadow. Jane Lynch plays the doctor who coins the term A.C.O.D. and even though she had a fairly short-lived screen time, Lynch makes this role into a very interesting character.
The story is fairly unique and interesting and offers some interesting new situations never really seen before. Scott’s quick change of agenda in the first act is especialy interesting and would make for an otherwise entertaining movie, had it not been for the failing screenplay. The screenplay is unevenly paced, and either moves too fast or too slow, and doesn’t really seem to understand most of its character. Scott’s character especially seems to be screwed over by the screenplay. The direction of the film is also uncomfortable and lousy, this is especialy noticable in the more tender scenes which really didn’t work out.
This is one of the weaker movies I’ve seen the past weeks, but it is held up by a (mostly) strong cast, most notably Amy Poehler, Jane Lynch, Ken Howard, and Adam Scott. But the most important part of any film is the screenplay, that’s what the whole project is based on, and in this case the screenplay was rubbish.
Best Aspect- Amy Poehler and Ken Howard
Worst Aspect- The screenplay