Movie review: 'A.C.O.D.,' 2.5 stars
Two and a half stars
Directed by Stu Zicherman
Starring Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler
Playing at Lincoln Square and Sunshine Cinema
I know, I know. Starring Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara and Amy freaking Poehler, "A.C.O.D." should be a landmark in modern cinematic comedy at best and a laugh-riot at worst.
These are stars of "Parks and Recreation," "Step Brothers," "Beetlejuice" and "Waiting for Guffman," among countless other examples of hilarious filmed entertainment. Oh, and Jane Lynch, who knows a thing or two about funny, turns up too.
Sadly, there's only so much that even top-shelf comic talent can do with a so-so script and pedestrian directing.
That's what they face in "A.C.O.D.," which stands for "Adult Children of Divorce" and refers to protagonist Carter (Scott), who seemingly has great life as a successful restaurateur with a beautiful girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead).
But he's not just the adult child of any old divorce. Carter came out of the severely acrimonious pairing of Hugh (Jenkins) and Melissa (O'Hara), who haven't spoken in years but still hurl vicious invective in each other's direction whenever they get the chance.
The movie takes great pains to show us the ways this dysfunction has traumatized Carter. He's afraid of commitment and cautious about family; he's supremely insecure and defensive.
There are some funny scenes of family discord here. Jenkins and Poehler (playing the former's third wife) particularly relish playing crude Type A jerks. Scott has perfected the put-upon, regular guy shtick. O'Hara is a comedy treasure.
The movie falters when it tries to be sincere. "A.C.O.D." aims to reflect the mixed-up, freewheeling divorce-crazy world we live in. It does so by tying Carter's present-day personal crisis to his immature parents' bitter divorce, but the screenplay simply doesn't provide enough reasons to feel bad for the guy. You want to give him a good shake and tell him to get over it already.