VOD film review: A.C.O.D.
Andrew Jones | On 27, Dec 2013
Director: Stu Zicherman
Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Jane Lynch
Watch ACOD online in the UK: Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
A.C.O.D. isn’t exactly a title that leaps into your mind. It stands for Adult Children Of Divorce, but even that is a obtuse title for what is a fun, sweet indie comedy starring Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara and Clark Duke, with additional support from Jane Lynch, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jessica Alba and Amy Poehler. That super cool cast combines to tell the story of Carter (Scott), a 30-something man who has convinced himself that he’s outgrown any distress his parents’ divorce at a young age caused him. But when his brother gets engaged, he is charged with getting his folks into the same room and has to face up to his commitment issues at the same time. The title comes from Jane Lynch’s Dr. Judith, who wrote a book on Carter as a child, among an array of other children, and is now working on a follow-up.
The worst part of all? As soon as Carter reunites his parents, Hugh and Melissa (an angry O’Hara and a sleazy Jenkins), they find their anger towards each other is also passionate – and things get a little weird.
A.C.O.D. is one of those great little charmers, neither exactly cinematic nor original, but boasting an ensemble of interesting performers, a script with a strong voice, very funny beats and a lot of moments you can just watch and enjoy. The only real shame is that there’s such a great array of characters, such as Amy Poehler’s third wife of Hugh or Jessica Alba as another A.C.O.D., that the film’s main focus leaves them out in the dust; with a runtime of 85 minutes, we only get glimpses of these peripheral characters who could be really entertaining to watch in a fuller, thicker film. However, in a climate where almost all the big comedy films try to hit two hours, sniffing at a short runtime is a fool’s errand.
A.C.O.D.’s big sell is just how good Adam Scott is as a serious actor, balancing comic notes without letting his character fall into the over-the-top world his family lives in. Just like his work in Parks And Recreation, he brings warmth, honesty, charm and emotion to his role, making the creations around him spring to life and feel important to the audience as well.
As the end of the year rolls around and the self-important, self-indulgent chunks of film come along, it’s nice to have the option to watch a straight-up amusing drama that never outstays its welcome, never drags its feet and actually offers plenty of legitimately funny moments. A.C.O.D. is hardly a world-shattering piece of work, but it’s well worth seeking out.