A.C.O.D. – Adult Children of Divorce – is everything you’d expect from a cast of strong actors with great timing and greater track records. Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara play stereotypical bitter divorceés (there’s no shortage of badmouthing) and the parents of Carter, the A.C.O.D. in question, portrayed by Adam Scott (Step Brothers, Parks and Recreation).
The subject of a popular book researching the effects of divorce on young children, Carter seems to be coasting by as a successful restaurant owner, despite being overshadowed by a lack of stable, healthy relationships in his memory bank. When his younger brother Trey (the adorably sheltered Clark Duke) proposes to his girlfriend, Carter must bring his parents together to ensure a peaceful wedding. A daunting task, Carter is woefully unprepared for the problems that will ensue.
Jane Lynch lends herself well to her role as Dr. Judith, the researcher who first studied Carter as a child, as well as the five other A.C.O.D.s she’s now reinvestigating. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays Carter’s frustrated girlfriend who, frankly, deserves better – and Jessica Alba’s appearance as one of the other A.C.O.D.s managed to contribute nothing to the plot other than awful fake tattoos and a weird plot angle that goes noticeably unfulfilled.
Scott plays Carter well as a headstrong, sensible guy who always seems to the only adult in the room. One might start to wonder if that’s all he’s capable of doing; it’s a real shame, as his Parks and Recreation co-star Amy Poehler graces the screen as Jenkins’ most recent wife, Sondra, in such a way that I almost forgot she was a comedian.
While the film is certainly full of deserved laughs, it touches on serious topics that I would’ve liked to see explored, or at least addressed. As an A.C.O.D. myself, a few scenes had me cringing at my déjà vu; the rest had me nodding in solidarity. For such a multifaceted cast, a more dramatic tone could have set this film apart. Instead it falls a bit flat, becoming predictable and certainly nothing special.