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I went into this film with an open mind. The film trailers played
months ago, and they got a lot of theatre laughs, but then this film
was slowly put out to the theatres and i saw low rating numbers on this
site and i wasn't in a rush to see this film. I enjoyed the film as
both a comedy and a drama.
The center of the film is on Carter, the older Brother's response to reuniting his parents for the sake of his brother. This in turn brings back bad memories of a dysfunctional family, divorce, and a disrupted family nucleus. Not only is Carter forced to sift through his buried family core issues, but the whole family is brought into the abyss.
I'm not sure what IMDb people were expecting, they usually get it right, but not on this one. I heard lots of audience laughs and sighs. There is a lot of wit and sarcasm instead of Hollywood cheap laughs. Adam Scott felt like a younger Kevin Spacey, I felt he did a great job of pulling off the role. This is certainly not a perfect film, but it is intelligent and fun.
As I started watching this movie, it became very obvious that this was
a very personal, cathartic movie. I have no problem with that, it's
done all the time--but what's important, interesting, funny, and
meaningful to the writer/director, doesn't always translate into
something meaningful to the viewer unless there is far more skill in
the storytelling. And that is what I think this movie lacked.
The plot simply covers the story of a a kid named Carter (and his younger brother Trey) who's father was a philanderer as a husband, as well as fairly cold and distant as a father. The father and mother haven't spoken for 20 years and the father has gone through several other step moms over those years.
I'm sure the "seminal" moment of Carter's 9th birthday was a huge deal to writer, but it was thrust at us so quickly at the beginning of the movie that we didn't have time for any background/setup to even know or care what was going on. To me, that scene which was apparently so pivotal ended up a throwaway scene because the writer seemed so eager to tell it that he told it too soon without any context whatsoever.
So we fast forward to Carter's now-successful (at least career-wise) life. There are a lot of funny moments here, but nothing we couldn't see in a half-hour sitcom. But the road the movie takes us down is a bit meandering and it seems very clear that we're going to have some sort of too-neatly wrapped up happy ending designed to close every loose end with a perfect situation and end all the pain of all the children who've gone through this situation.
To me, it just smacked too much of someone dumping his messed-up life on us and his wish of what could have been. It didn't make for an entertaining movie. Maybe a half-hour episode of Trophy Wife or something would have been a better venue for this story. Jimo
A.C.O.D. is such a terrific film that it's difficult to believe that it's Zicherman's directorial debut. The screenplay, by Karlin and Zicherman, is remarkably clever and witty--combining humor with poignant insight to a very satisfying effect. Zicherman gets the pacing exactly right, showing faith in the intelligence of his audience by never belaboring a point. The characters are engaging and the acting is very great. If your an adult child of divorce or a divorced parent who worries about your children, you're likely to recognize something in this film. (When Carter goes through his parents' divorce papers, try to catch some of the petty, ridiculous allegations each makes.) In this film, you see revealed some painful truths about human nature and complex family relationships--always with humor and compassion. This is one of the best comedies I've seen.
.... but Carter learns he misperceived something important! What a fun
movie to watch! Everybody plays their part well.
Poor Carter is caught in the middle of everybody's problems and needs. Then he discovers his past isn't quite what he thought it was! He has to pull all the family together for a wedding and maybe along the way he fixed a lot of lives.
This is a feel good flick and it's done very well - no problems for me! You might not laugh out loud but I'm sure anyone will smile throughout this story!
Watch it! You'll like it!
A.C.O.D. is at times too amiable and meandering for its own good, but
it gets by on a decent number of laughs and a strong cast. I kept
waiting for things to escalate but it never quite happened despite the
way the characters treat each other. I can't say it was a
disappointment as I wasn't really expecting anything from it, but I
suppose I just wanted it to be a bit... more.
Director Stuart Zicherman has assembled a cast including such reliably funny actors as Adam Scott, Catherine O'Hara, Jane Lynch and Amy Poehler, and he's co-written (with Ben Karlin) a film that is, to be fair, consistently laugh out loud funny. It's engaging enough, and it ends on a perfect note. I just can't get excited about it.
So first of all, it stands for Adult Child of Divorce and its the main
reason no-one heard of this one. It sounds like a disorder, and people
go see comedies that seem like a good time, not a lot of work.
Adam Scott's little bro wants to get married, and its his job to try and get his warring divorced parents to be in the same room together.
Jane Lynch, Mary Elisabeth Winstead, Amy Poehler, Katherine O'Hara and Richard Jenkins are all great. Funny likable cast, terrific situation comedy, its only about 20 minutes too long. Truly the only reason this got buried was that terrible unwieldy title.
6/10 outwore its welcome by the end, but still, underrated.
After watching A.C.O.D. on Netflix I immediately logged onto IMDb to
see what sort of ratings the movie had received from critics and other
users. I was in fact very surprised that the reviews were not stronger
for this movie.
I believe the main problem with this movie is that it must be listed as a comedy. A.C.O.D. is not the traditional comedy with one liners, slapstick, and crazy over the top situations, but is more of a drama dealing with the struggles of an adult living with the trauma of growing up the child of divorced parents. The protagonist Carter's character arc is quite engaging and mostly well written. Even things that he did that I felt were out of character seemed passable when his overall emotional state was considered. The movie was quite deep and could be potentially very meaningful to real life adult children of divorce.
Other positives of this film are in its acting and direction. Most of the actors in this movie were quite good. Adam Scott was typical Adam Scott, nothing new there. The direction was also quite good and I enjoyed the soundtrack.
If you plan to go into this movie expecting laughs though, you won't probably enjoy it as much as I did.
I don't know whether the subject examined by A.C.O.D. (adult sons of divorced couples) is real, but in this time of political correction and "victim culture", I suppose that it is a valid enough topic for a comedy. Is A.C.O.D. a comedy? I'm not sure. The film has various actors who are famous for their humorous talent: Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Catherine O'Hara, Adam Pally, Clark Duke and Jane Lynch. However, the pathetic screenplay never made me laugh, and it seems to delight itself into the uncomfortable situations and incongruent reactions from the neurotic characters. This might be the new fashionable sub-genus: "neurotic comedy", specialized in portraying the eccentricities and inappropriate behaviors from dysfunctional characters, so that our oddities don't look as terrible. Anyway, I hated A.C.O.D., even though the "adults sons of divorced couples" might feel themselves identified with the characters. So, I ignore whether this movie truly brings a valuable message, or if it at least works as a meager consolation for those going through that unfortunate situation; but in my personal experience, this film bored me to tears, and I felt it like an absolute waste of time.
Carter (Adam Scott) is the long suffering son of divorced parents Hugh
(Richard Jenkins) and Melissa (Catherine O'Hara) since he was 9. His
slacker brother Trey (Clark Duke) is marrying Keiko (Valerie Tian).
Sondra (Amy Poehler) is Hugh's latest wife and the landlord to Carter's
restaurant. Gary (Ken Howard) is Melissa's latest husband. Neither
Melissa nor Hugh are willing to go to the same wedding for Trey. Lauren
(Mary Elizabeth Winstead) is Carter's girlfriend of four years. He
finds out that his childhood counseling with Dr. Lorraine Judith (Jane
Lynch) was actually a case study for her successful book "Children of
Divorce". It leads him to reconsider his life and Dr. Judith wants to
write a sequel "Adult Children of Divorce". Then he finds his father
cheating with his mother. Michelle (Jessica Alba) and Mark (Adam Pally)
are two of Dr. Judith's subjects.
I wonder where the good jokes are. The great cast gets into some off-kilter situations. Some of it is cute and chuckle-worthy. I think it's due mostly to the expert cast. O'Hara and Jenkins get in some good fun. The movie is slightly interesting but not so insightful to be actually compelling. We know that Adam Scott is good in an ensemble but the jury is still out for him to be the outright lead. There is too much comedic talent for it to be OK for so few laughs.
In A.C.O.D. Adam Scott plays Carter, a successful restaurateur who
seems to have it all. As a child however his parents (Richard Jenkins
and Catherine O'Hara) were involved in a brutal divorce that drug on
for years. When Carter's Brother Trey (Clark Duke) announces he is
getting married, Carter tries to get his parents to a place where they
can be in the same room for the sake of the wedding. Overwhelmed by the
task, Carter turns to what he thinks is his childhood therapist Dr.
Judith (Jane Lynch). Only he finds out she was an author who was using
him as a subject of a study, Children of Divorce. Once they reconnect,
Dr. Judith is inspired to write a follow up to her best seller and
revisit the kids she included in the study. Along the way of preparing
for his brother's wedding and participating in the new study we learn
that Carter isn't as well adjusted as he seems. At which point all
seems to go haywire for our viewing enjoyment. I enjoyed this film on
many levels. The acting to start is what really makes this film, you
could not have found a better cast. It's great to see Adam Scott and
Richard Jenkins together, given how well they worked together in
Stepbrothers (2008). Catherine O'Hara is always a pleasure to see in
any comedy, a very underrated actress. Be it Home Alone (1990), Best in
Show (2000) or Orange County (2002) she never disappoints. I hope that
there are at least talks somewhere for her to do another Christopher
Guest film full of adlibbed genius. Jane Lynch as the therapist/author
is great as usual, not far off from the therapist role she played in
Two and a Half Men. She does snarky sarcastic to a fine art form. Amy
Poehler as the stepmother is funny as well, hard to miss with her in
anything. Clark Duke is what I refer to as the poor man's Jonah Hill.
He will work in the same capacity, just with limited acting range. I
always feel like he is the exact same guy in every movie I see him in,
Hot Tub Time Machine (2010) or Sex Drive (2008). What really made this
film for me personally was the great indie rock soundtrack. As the film
progressed I was surprised by more and more musical gems, Dirty Gold,
Okkerville River, Deer Tick, Architecture in Helsinki, Audio Paint and
Dr. Dog. If you are a fan of music the soundtrack alone is worth
catching the movie for. Overall I would recommend A.C.O.D., its
irreverent family dysfunction at its most entertaining levels. The film
has a very hipster independent film feel, but not so much to where it's
off putting. Currently the film is available on Netfilx and is easily a
must see of comedies available on the format.
If you enjoyed this review, please check out my blog at yourturntopick.com
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