Sundance London Film Review: A.C.O.D.

Posted in Film, Reviews
By Sam Bathe on 9 May 2013

It’s about time Adam Scott got his chance as a leading man, and while he proves his worth in this gently amusing indie rom-com, I just wish it had a little more bite.

After finding out his was part of a study about children of divorce, Carter (Scott) returns to writer Dr. Judith for guidance about his modern day problems. When younger brother Trey (Duke) gets hastily engaged, Carter is left with the daunting task of getting their long-divorced parents back into the same room, while his own relationship is getting a little stagnant too. Though after Judith decides there’s material there for another book, A.C.O.D., or Adult Children Of Divorce, she realises she’s opened herself up to a torrent of problems she could have never expected.

After Carter’s parents inevitably get back together, it’s unfortunate the plot twists feel incredibly clichéd. Everything is as expected, while the comedy in each character isn’t given time to breathe. For Parks And Recreation fans it’s amusing to see Adam Scott opposite Amy Poehler, only here they’re not so besotted as Poehler plays Scott’s on-screen step mum. Poehler still has most of the funny lines but she isn’t given enough screen time to do her talent justice.

Adam Scott is very reliable and handles his leading man status well, but without enough punch in the script, there are times even the short 87-minute running time feel leggy.

A.C.O.D. is a fun watch, but it feels a little samey in the indie rom-com genre, and while the central topic is quite unique, how they manifest in Carter’s troubles doesn’t feel at all new. The narrative doesn’t really such you in and I felt very passive to the action. In A.C.O.D. everything is said to be going out of control, but in practise there’s nothing you won’t expect. A.C.O.D. sets out to explore what it’s like to have grown up through divorce, but falls back on clichéd plot twists and generic family exchanges when it runs out of new ideas.

Writer/director Stu Zicherman’s last work in Hollywood was co-writing Jennifer Garner superhe ro movie Elektra, so A.C.O.D. is quite at least a big step in the right direction, but I hope there’s a little more craft and a little more bite on the next film.

3/5

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