By Sandra Kraisirideja
Entertainment writers see a lot of movies, not just in the course of a year, but in the span of their lifetime, and critiquing these movies can take on a nuance that can be out-of-touch with the general population. It’s not always easy to categorize a movie as either good or bad—although that does happen—but more often than not a movie falls into the gray area between good and bad.
Take “A.C.O.D,” which stands for “Adult Children of Divorce,” a new comedy from director and co-writer Stu Zicherman, who wrote the script with Ben Karlin. This is a funny movie, but is it a hilarious movie? No, and that is surprising given the comedic talents of its stars, Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”), Catherine O’Hara (“A Mighty Wind”), Jane Lynch (“Glee”), Clark Duke (“The Office”) and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”).
The gray area for entertainment writers is why you’ll also hear the phrase, “I liked it, but I didn’t love it.” For me that usually means I was expecting something more and in the case of “A.C.O.D,” my expectations were influenced by the cast. I expected to laugh more and harder than I did. The actors’ performances were all good, but they probably could only do so much with the material they had.
Zicherman and Karlin both have television backgrounds; the former with “Six Degrees” and the latter on “Modern Family” and the storyline for “A.C.O.D” would work well on television.
Successful restaurateur Carter (Scott) discovers he was one of the subject in a book about divorce when his newly engaged younger brother, Trey (Duke), enlists his help getting their parents, played by Richard Jenkins and O’Hara, to attend the wedding. The two had a bitter divorce and cannot be in the same room together without all hell breaking loose.
Lynch plays the author responsible for first book chronicling Carter’s emotional scars from his parent’s divorce, and when she sees him as an adult she can’t help but see another opportunity for a new book.
Trey’s impending wedding is the catalyst for all sorts of bad things to start happening to Carter, who thought he had his life under control. Zicherman and Karlin aren’t able to flesh out Carter’s relationship with his girlfriend, played by Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and even the introduction of Jessica Alba as another participant in the book about divorce comes across as unnecessary.
While there are some funny moments in “A.C.O.D.” it lacks sophistication in its the plot development and the cast members’ comedic talents are underutilized.All photos provided are courtesy of Black Bear Pictures.