Sundance 2013: A.C.O.D – Review by MovieManMenzel

An honest comedy about love and divorce.

Adam Scott stars as Carter, a guy who on the surface seems like his life is on track. He owns a successful restaurant business and has a beautiful girlfriend named Lauren (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) who he has been dating for several years. Carter seems pretty content with his life until he learns that his brother Trey (Clark Duke) has gotten engaged and is planning his wedding. After hearing the news, Carter sets out to try to convince his divorced parents (Richard Jenkins & Catherine O’ Hara) to act like normal human beings and come to the wedding. This isn’t an easy task since neither of his parents have spoken in years and hate each other with a passion. While trying to get his parents to act like mature adults, Carter learns that his mother took him to a counselor as a child, and this counselor eventually wrote a best selling novel based on his life and several other patients who were grieving from their parents’ divorce.

A.C.O.D. is a comedy about divorce told from an adult perspective. The film as a whole has a story that is fairly unique even if at times the film becomes predictable. The story, which follows a man who has never truly accepted or gotten over his parents divorce is one that is ripe for comedy and provides some really solid laughs along the way. The film also attempts to bring up an interesting point as to how some people live their lives through others or, how they live their lives in fear because of the previous events that happened earlier in their lives.

While Adam Scott is the glue that holds this entire film together, it is the entire supporting cast that make this film a true success. Richard Jenkins as Carter’s father Hugh is absolutely hilarious. I love how Jenkins portrays a guy who marries women solely based on their looks and how well they perform in the sack. Catherine O’ Hara on the other hand, is an emotional mess, which gives the film a nice comparison of personalities between the two characters. She usually delivers lines like “I hate your father” which rings true to how people feel when a divorce or separation occurs. While Jenkin’s character seems a bit more unrealistic, it is O’ Hara who seems more realistic and even at times reminded me of my own mother.

There are several other great supporting cast members that need to be mentioned such as Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Carter’s girlfriend Lauren. Winstead plays the only sane character in the entire film and I loved the character because she added a level of depth to Carter as a whole. Jane Lynch makes an appearance in film as Dr. Judith. She is really funny and manipulating as the fake doctor and writer of the book. She also gives some depth to Carter by trying to get information out of him to write a follow up book. Lastly, I can’t forget to mention Amy Poehler as Sondra, who plays Hugh’s latest wife. She is a complete bitch who seems more about money and controlling things rather than love itself.  I really dug most the characters in this film and how none of them were alike.

While A.C.O.D. is extremely entertaining and fun, it isn’t a flawless film. There are several scenes that seem a little too silly especially during the second half of the film. The film also tends to get fairly predictable especially a cabin scene that happens near the end of the film. The ending was somewhat left open to the imagination, however, I think anyone who was paying close enough to film as it was going on could figure out what it meant. Given the fact that this is Stu Zicherman’s directorial debut, I wasn’t expecting a perfectly polished film, but it did have moments here and there where it felt a little too generic for its own good.

All in All, A.C.O.D is a fun comedy about divorce and one that I think will play play better with a mainstream audience rather than an independent one. While there are a few flaws here and there, A.C.O.D. never stops being fun and entertaining. Its not a film that anyone will be blown away by but then again this isn’t that type of film. This is a film that you are suppose to just sit back and enjoy. Its a lighthearted comedy made to entertain and bring laughter to some of the struggles of life, love, and marriage. It is a great example of a feel good time at the movies.

MovieManMenzel’s Final Rating for A.C.O.D is a 7 out of 10.

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