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A.C.O.D. - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Directing: B
Acting: B+
Writing: B
Cinematography: B-
Editing: B

A.C.O.D. has gotten very mixed reviews, and I'm not really sure why; I found it to be rather pleasant, if somewhat bland -- but it delivers on the laughs it promises. Granted, it doesn't promise gut-busting belly laughs. Much more realistically, it promises consistent, hearty laughs. Not the hugest distinction, I suppose. And admittedly part of it may be that I myself am an Adult Child of Divorce.

As it happens, the very first thing seen in the film is a title card stating that one in two marriages end in divorce. Is it any coincidence, then, that the ratings on MetaCritic and Rotten Tomatoes are 50 and 48%, respectively? Cut pretty much right down the middle -- it may be that it's simply the half of us who can really relate who enjoy the movie.

Of course, director and co-writer Stu Zicherman has to amp up the ridiculousness for entertainment's sake. Carter (Adam Scott) is a successful businessman who convinces himself that he's managed to grow up well-adjusted in spite of a tumultuous childhood that culminated in his 9th birthday party being interrupted by a police visit because his parents' fighting got so out of hand. Paridoxically, his younger brother, Trey (Hot Tub Time Machine), for all appearances is actually the most well-adjusted person in the family. This in spite of his haste to marry a girlfriend he's only known for four months.

Trey wants both of his parents, who have now been long remarried and haven’t spoken in twenty years, to attend the wedding. He asks Carter to broker the deal. Intermittent hilarity ensues.

The parents could not have been better cast: Richard Jenkins as Hugh and Catherine O'Hara as Melissa. They have a weirdly perfect chemistry as two people once married who now loathe each other -- or, at least, they convince themselves they do. Once Carter finally forces them to step into the same room together (actually a restaurant), they suddenly find they still harbor physical attraction, if perhaps not any other kind. Here is where A.C.O.D. turns into a bit of a rehash of It's Complicated -- which is roughly as good, just with far better production values.

The spouses of the parents are not quite as well cast: Ken Howard is serviceable as Melissa's husband, but Amy Poehler has a thankless job as Sondra, the snotty bitch entered into Carter's phone as "Cuntessa." The part is not particularly well drawn, and Poehler's ample talents are wasted on it.

Shot digitally, the fact that A.C.O.D. had a small budget easily shows on screen. It only takes a few minutes for the personalities of the actors -- including Jane Lynch as the researcher Carter discovers to have written a book based on his and other "Children of Divorce's" experience -- to shine through well enough to make you forget about that. It's just a matter of giving the movie a chance, which clearly very few people have done: in the theatre where I saw it, I was the single person in attendance. Three weeks into its release, the film has grossed all of $121,000, which makes it a bona fide flop. The movie isn't perfect but it deserves a lot more than that.

People from relatively stable families might just not get it. But, even though it's a little over the top even compared to most real-life family drama, anyone with any kind of experience with divorce is likely to relate on some level. I certainly did, and that was precisely what made the film enjoyable and entertaining.

Adam Scott takes an amusingly difficult path to self-discovery in 'A.C.O.D.'

Overall: B
1 comment or Leave a comment
tommy50702 From: tommy50702 Date: May 25th, 2015 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)
It’s an interesting story that attempts to make sense of modern relationships – as well as the ripple effect they can have on others.
1 comment or Leave a comment