"Healing from the Damage of Divorce"


What You Need To Know:

A.C.O.D., which means Adult Children of Divorce, stars Adam Scott of NBC’s sitcom PARKS AND RECREATION. Scott plays Carter, a young restaurant owner who’s become a control freak and a commitment-phobe after seeing his parents being married three times each. Carter’s been stringing along his girlfriend for four years. His younger brother, Trey, suddenly announces his engagement to a woman he’s only known for four months. Trey asks Carter to force their divorced parents to reconcile in time for Trey’s wedding. Carter’s attempt to fulfill his brother’s wishes results in a shocking, comical turn of events that turns Carter’s world upside down.

A.C.O.D. has a great script providing lots of laughs, including many smart, clever jokes. The veteran cast successfully meets the challenge by providing indelible character portrayals. A.C.O.D. has a strong Romantic worldview, but there’s a moral undertone that grows stronger as the movie goes along. The ending surprisingly extols true marital love, family ties, forgiveness, and first marriages. However, there’s too much foul language as well as other brief lewd content in A.C.O.D. So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises extreme caution.


(RoRo, BB, C, LLL, V, SS, NN, A, MMM) Strong Romantic worldview with a moral, redemptive tone that grows as the movie goes along, with true marital love, family ties, forgiveness, and first marriages extolled (including implied church weddings); about or at least 49 obscenities and profanities; light comic violence; brief depicted sex in a comic scene when protagonist suddenly stumbles on his parents, now married to other people, having an affair (the parents decide they should never have divorced in the first place); rear male nudity; alcohol use; no smoking or drugs; and, lying.

More Detail:

A.C.O.D. (which stands for Adult Children of Divorce) is a very funny, sometimes perceptive comedy. It’s about the damage of divorce on a man who has his life turned upside down again when his brother asks him to create peace between their parents in time for the brother’s wedding. A.C.O.D. has a strong Romantic worldview with a moral undertone that grows stronger as the movie goes along, but there are some strong objectionable elements despite the positive ending.

The movie stars Adam Scott of NBC’s sitcom PARKS AND RECREATION, who plays Carter, a restaurant owner who is both a control freak and a commitment-phobe after seeing his parents each having three marriages. Carter’s been stringing along his girlfriend for four years, while his younger brother Trey announces giddily that he’s leaping into an engagement with a woman he’s known just four months.

When Trey asks Carter to force their parents to reconcile enough to face each other at his wedding, Carter thinks only disaster can come of it. His attempt results in a shocking turn of events that turns his world upside down at the same time that a psychologist approaches him to be interviewed for a book on the lives of those who are Adult Children of Divorce.

The result to all this is a very funny and often surprisingly touching look at the myriad ways that divorce can impact children well into adulthood. As Carter deals with his parents’ surprisingly nice behavior toward each other, and the psychologist making him deal with his emotional and psychological issues concerning commitment, he learns the value of forgiveness and hoping for the happiness of others, not just his own.

Director Stu Zicherman, a veteran script expert, co-wrote the screenplay with Ben Karlin, a former DAILY SHOW head writer who won nine Emmys writing and producing for Jon Stewart. Those credentials ensure that the movie provides non-stop laughs with some smart, clever jokes.

The cast meets the challenge. Catherine O’Hara (the mom in HOME ALONE) makes the most of her meatiest role in years. Richard Jenkins works his world-weary countenance to maximum comic effect. Jane Lynch doesn’t stretch much beyond playing a nicer version of her Emmy-winning “Glee” role as the shrink, but her surprising warmth grounds the movie as she helps Carter finally accept his fate and figure out how to break the destructive patterns of his parents.

As Carter, Adam Scott rebounds nicely from his smarmy turn in one of 2012’s most offensive movies, FRIENDS WITH KIDS. That movie tried to pull off the same magic here by creating witty banter about relationship problems. In that case, Scott played a guy who was commitment-phobic because he couldn’t stand children. However, the attempts at humor in FRIENDS WITH KIDS – had a toxic tone that ended in the final moments with some really vile dialogue.

A.C.O.D. is funny, wise, and entertaining viewing for media-wise adults, which upholds true love, family ties, forgiveness, and first marriages as ideals. However, extreme caution is advised because of strong foul language and brief lewd content. Eliminating and drastically cutting down this objectionable content would have made A.C.O.D. much more accessible to a wider audience.

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