A grown man caught in the crossfire of his parents 15-year divorce discovers he was unknowingly part of a study on divorced children and is enlisted in a follow-up years later, which wreaks new havoc on his family.
Director: Stu Zicherman
Writer[s]: Ben Karlin, Stu Zicherman
A.C.O.D., or Adult Child of Divorce, is a semi-autobiographical film from Stu Zicherman, who has worked on several shows, but overall is a newcomer to the film scene. He too is an A.C.O.D., and he helped salvage his parents relationship with his brother’s wedding. Ben Karlin, a writer on The Daily Show and Modern Family, helped write the script along with Zicherman. The story follows Carter [Adam Scott], an A.C.O.D., who seems to have his life together: he owns a restaurant, he has a girlfriend of four years, he dresses sharp, etc. But when his parents, who haven’t spoken in years, get back together, it is clear how big of an effect of his parents divorce still has on him and his ideals and motives.
While labeled a comedy, A.C.O.D. is much more subtle a film than I originally assumed coming in. With a cast consisting of Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Jand Lynch, Amy Poehler, and Clark Duke, who are all immensely funny actors and very active contributors in past years’ most successful comedic films and television shows, you would think that this film would make your sides hurt. But it doesn’t. Instead, the content contains and underlying layer of comedy, and it doesn’t aim to make big, obvious jokes. It is obvious that a writer of The Daily Show and Modern Family contributed, because the styles are very similar, although those two shows are much more obviously funny.
I can’t call it a drama, or even a dramedy, but the messages of the film are real ones that I imagine hold very true in this age of A.C.O.D.s, where nearly half of all marriages end in divorce and people have now grown up in incomplete households. I would very much be interested in seeing some real research and material on such a generation. This film is kind of like an introduction to the idea of such a population.
It is pretty funny, and is a unique look at a unique situation, but overall the production is kind of flat, and the delivery of material is dry, at least when it is not being obviously comedic. For a first time writer/director, though, I would call this a success. It’s just not a blockbuster hit.
2/4 – A.C.O.D. is a rather interesting concept of a new generation of adults. The film, however, isn’t terribly interesting. A great cast that give a few laughs, but a new writer/director that just doesn’t “wow” us.