Published Jan 14, 2014Joining the ranks of other recent slight comedies like Our Idiot Brother and The Five-Year Engagement, A.C.O.D. is a pleasant enough trifle with a top-notch cast that just doesn't ultimately leave much of an impression. The fact that the film elicits far more smiles and chuckles than any real belly laughs keeps it from being particularly memorable.
The titular acronym stands for Adult Children of Divorce, and Carter (Adam Scott) is one of the more recognizable members of that group. As a child, he was unknowingly one of the subjects of a bestseller on the impact of divorce written by Dr. Judith (Jane Lynch) after his mother (Catherine O'Hara) and father (Richard Jenkins) split. Now an adult, he has become a successful and seemingly well-adjusted owner of a restaurant and is about to become engaged to his girlfriend Lauren (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) if he can ever pull the trigger.
When Carter's brother Trey (Clark Duke) reveals he's engaged to the woman he has only been dating for a few months, it's Carter who is then tasked with trying to get his parents to set aside their bitter feelings for each other long enough to attend the wedding. To help do this, he gets back in contact with Dr. Judith, mistakenly thinking that she was his psychiatrist when he was young rather than a court-appointed researcher, and is forced to trudge up all of those issues from the past.
There's a comic twist at the end of the first act that won't be spoiled here but should be fairly easy for anyone to see coming if they know how these battle of the exes usually work in comedies. The film ambles along good-naturedly without any substantial stakes or insurmountable obstacles, aside from the perfunctory presence of a temptress for Carter embodied by Jessica Alba. The actors are stuck performing within their usual comfort zones for the most part, with Jenkins and O'Hara appearing to have the most fun as the proverbial elephants in the room.
This is a rare case when the supplemental material, though not all that extensive, might actually contain funnier moments than you'll find anywhere in the feature presentation. Aside from a bit of hilarious ad-libbing from Amy Poehler, who plays Jenkins's most recent wife in the film, there are a series of infomercials about being an A.C.O.D that cram a lot of comedy into a short amount of time. Featuring Scott, Duke, Lynch and O'Hara, these intentionally awkward shorts meant to ostensibly help those affected by divorce instead devolve into inane qualifying questions like, "Did you marry someone for a green card and then realize this is not the movie Green Card?" and Scott and Duke debating the pronunciation of the word "robot."