A.C.O.D. is a comedy flourished with dark touches about Carter (Adam Scott) who, in order to rally family support for his younger brother’s wedding, tempts the delicate peace it has taken him a lifetime to forge between his divorced parents (Richard Jenkins & Catherine O’Hara), who have been living in complete enmity. The stress involved leads him to visit his childhood therapist (Jane Lynch), only to discover that she was not counseling him during his childhood, but researching him for a book about children of divorce – C.O.D.. Carter’s visit leads his therapist to launch a follow-up to her successful book entitling it Adult Children of Divorce.
Additionally, the picture painted of him in C.O.D. conveys the impression of a pathetic being whose life had been ruined by his selfish parents. To prove this impression to be wrong, he goes against his long-running inclination to keep his parents apart by forcing them to meet and discuss how they would peacefully carry themselves for their son’s wedding.
Things go well… a little too well, and the story becomes the somewhat common, “My parents hate each other…wha? They’re sleeping together!? Aye por Dios mio!” type of film. His years-long tenuous control of his family dynamics falls apart, and he almost becomes ostracized as he grasps for the familiar sense of the situation where his parents were distant crazy people from whom he protected loved ones. Ultimately, we get the idea (albeit, ambiguously,) that peace has been restored, resolution is found and things are better than ever.
A.C.O.D. is a good, funny film. It wasn’t spectacular, and it wasn’t hilarious. Jenkins and O’Hara play the clueless, self-centered antagonists to Scott’s sanity perfectly. Thankfully, there weren’t the usual Meet the Parents gags one might expect from family event comedies these days. However, the hook of the protagonist being the subject of a divorce study wasn’t really strong enough. Adam Scott plays the most rational guy in the room, which makes this feel like an incarnation of Arrested Development. The jokes were funny, but often times they were a little too easily set up. I think it’s safe to catch this one on Netflix rather than in theaters, unless you come from divorced parents, and are looking for a good date film that will garner you sympathy during post-movie dessert/coffee.