1. Life & Culture

Review: A.C.O.D. is big on dysfunction, short on laughs

A.C.O.D. (R) (88 min.) — The title abbreviates the term "adult children of divorce," coined by an opportunistic author played by Jane Lynch, one of several actors left to their own comical devices by a lacking screenplay. Lynch's Dr. Judith is writing a follow-up to a case study of a home not broken but demolished by crassly terrible parents. As played by Richard Jenkins and Catherine O'Hara, they're the most acrimonious exes since the Roses waged war.

Their eldest son, Carter (Adam Scott), escaped to a fairly successful life until now. Carter recently discovered that Dr. Judith's book was written about his childhood, and isn't happy about that. His younger brother (Clark Duke) is getting married and wants his parents attending, urging Carter to mediate a truce between people who "turned a nine-year marriage into a 100-year war."

A.C.O.D. is a busy movie for one running under 90 minutes, with people like Amy Poehler and Jessica Alba popping in with no-destination characters, and poor Mary Elizabeth Winstead wasted in the wings as Carter's patient girlfriend. The movie zings when Jenkins is snapping off venomous wisecracks, or O'Hara speaks politically incorrectly with only the best intentions. But those moments aren't enough to raise A.C.O.D. above the level of a failed pilot for a racy pay channel sitcom. (Veterans 24 in Tampa) C

Steve Persall, Times movie critic