What's dispiriting about films like "A.C.O.D." -- aka "Adult Children of Divorce" -- is the way they damage valuable human resources. They employ marvelous performers who usually don't get to carry a movie, give them subpar material and direction and then "prove" -- see? -- they CAN'T carry a movie. Take Adam Scott ("Parks & Recreation"). Accompanied here by the similarly talented Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler and Jane Lynch, the very likable actor has to convince us that Carter -- his successful, tidy, punctilious and unable-to-commit restaurateur -- deserves our sympathy/attention as he tries to keep his bilious parents civil long enough for his brother to get married. No one could accomplish this. Scott feels like a human sacrifice.

The cause to which he's being offered up is little better than an autobiographical sitcom from writer/director Stu Zicherman, who grew up in Roslyn and whose parents really were divorced (no spoiler: It says so in the press notes). Zicherman does some interesting things -- the parents' relationship to their child, for instance, is central to the story, rather than, as usual, an afterthought to the main character's romance: The philandering Hugh (Jenkins) is remarried to the younger Sondra (an imperious Poehler, playing against her usual type); Melissa (O'Hara) is long married to Gary (Ken Howard) but still grows hysterical when the subject of Hugh comes up. They really love each other, you see. Carter, who seems well-adjusted, is apparently not, at least according to his therapist (Lynch), an expert in the subject of A.C.O.D., a syndrome that may provide food for thought but not a lot of laughs.

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PLOT Decades too late, an adult child deals with his parents' divorce.


CAST Adam Scott, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler.


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BOTTOM LINE Lame, lame, lame, despite a likable cast.