“ACOD”: Adult Child of Divorced Parents “Helped” By Quasi-Therapist

Not to be confused with the real world’s ACOD, which for years has stood for the 12-step program Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families, the title of the new film A.C.O.D. stands for Adult Child(ren) of Divorce.

Co-written and directed by actual ACOD Stu Zicherman, the movie is officially described as follows:

A.C.O.D. follows Carter (Adam Scott), a seemingly well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. Having survived the madness of his parents’ (Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara) divorce, Carter now has a successful career and supportive girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). But when his younger brother (Clark Duke) gets engaged, Carter is forced to reunite his bitterly divorced parents and their new spouses (Amy Poehler and Ken Howard) for the wedding, causing the chaos of his childhood to return including his wacky therapist (Jane Lynch).

But is she really a therapist? It’s set up in the trailer:

So, ACOD Carter discovers when returning to Dr. Judith in the midst of a crisis that she wasn’t in fact his child therapist; actually, she was studying and writing about kids of divorce. And now that she’s seen him again, she decides she’s interested in doing a 20-year follow-up.

This is groundbreaking stuff, after all. “Do you realize you’re the least-parented, least-nurtured generation ever?,” asks Dr. Judith.

Although film critic Dan Callahan, rogerebert.com, disses Lynch’s character as “an oblivious and self-centered quasi-scientist who made big bucks out of telling his childhood story in a book and who now wants to make more money with a sequel,” that doesn’t mean she’s unimportant. Indeed, Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly, gives Zicherman kudos for making Jane Lynch’s relationship with Carter a key ingredient of the film. “Lynch, less farcical than usual, speaks hilarious truths in her lightly hostile way.”

Claudia Puig, USA Today, agrees: “…(S)he imparts obvious truths like ‘I’ve always thought funerals should be about the person that died’ with an air of scholarly authority.”

Another key element of the movie’s plot is that Carter’s life adjustment isn’t what he thinks it is, which leads to an existential crisis and relationship problems.

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: “Carter is an expert at managing his own life; he’s just not so great at letting go and living it.”

A conclusion from Manohla Dargis, New York Times: “…an unfunny comedy about a guy mooning over his parents’ divorce decades later, is so eager to please it’s hard to hate. But it’s sluggish even at 87 minutes, clichéd and gives you nothing of interest to look at other than some familiar faces.”

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