By Bill Wine
KYW Newsradio 1060
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The acronym stands for Adult Children Of Divorce and, boy, are there a lot of them in this first generation of grownups for whom divorce was the norm growing up.
A.C.O.D., which, where marriage is concerned, could also stand for A Collective Of Doubters, is a conversational comedy about a beleaguered son of bitterly divorced parents.
Adam Scott, a busy actor in his splashiest starring movie role, plays Carter, a child of divorce and successful thirtysomething restaurateur whose feuding, remarried-to-other-people parents’ long-ago divorce was – and remains — anything but amicable.
He seems okay about that, but both his patient yoga-instructor girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), wondering whether his romantic commitment to her will ever kick in, and his therapist (Jane Lynch), who, it turns out, wrote a best-selling book about him as an example of the A.C.O.D. phenomenon, might beg to differ about the effect it has had on him.
When his younger brother (Clark Duke), whom he helps support, gets engaged, it’s up to Carter to go into mediator mode –- which started for him when he was nine years old — and reunite his bickering mother and father (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) and their new spouses (Amy Poehler and Ken Howard) in time for the wedding
The understated Scott, who’s in virtually every frame, is able, watchable, and likable, as expected, exhibiting crackerjack comic timing as he whines and complains and delivers his drily witty dialogue like a skilled mail carrier handling with care.
And the sharp supporting ensemble know what they’re about: acerbic zingers abound, fly, and land.
Debuting director Stu Zicherman, whose background is in television and who co-wrote the succinct, intelligent screenplay with co-producer Ben Karlin, has a terrific modern premise on his hands (a look at what one character describes as the “least parented generation EVER”) and makes the most of it in an enjoyable, frequently funny exploration of modern-day extended-family life that’s so resonant, it makes you wonder why it hasn’t been tackled in a similar vein before.
Not a frivolous romp, A.C.O.D. is a thoughtful, provocative consideration of its central theme (to wit: maritally speaking, where have all the role models gone?) that produces plenty of laughs and, almost casually, a generous allowance of food for thought as well.
So we’ll divorce 3 stars out of 4 for an insightful, bittersweet comedy anchored by the adroit and appealing Adam Scott. A.C.O.D. is F.I.N.E.