A.C.O.D. Blu-ray Review
Carter had a particularly memorable ninth birthday: his friends were there singing to him, he had a table full of presents and his mother was threatening to cut his father’s penis off. And then the cops showed up.
Not surprisingly, Carter (Adam Scott, NBC’s PARKS AND RECREATION) could go the rest of his life without seeing them both in the same state. But when his younger brother, Trey (Clark Duke, who appeared in the final season of THE OFFICE), announces he’s getting married, it’s inevitable that Hugh (Richard Jenkins, JACK REACHER) and Melissa (Catherine O’Hara, FRANKENWEENIE)—and perhaps their new spouses, Sondra (Amy Poehler, also PARKS AND REC) and Gary (Ken Howard, HBO’s GREY GARDENS)—will share the dance floor, no matter how vulgar their protests.
It’s all a bit too much for Carter, who has a restaurant to manage and a girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead, SMASHED) he’s hesitant to marry, and so he goes to see his former psychiatrist, Dr. Judith (Jane Lynch, Fox’s GLEE), who is also the best-selling author of “Children of Divorce,” which was partly inspired by Carter’s early years.
One might assume that all of these cans of worms would lead to non-stop comedic skirmishes between the family, with skits involving awkward speeches, spilled wine and over-the-top revelations. While there are some bits between Hugh and Melissa that hint at such bits, they’re there to flesh out the characters more than to cue cliché situations.
A.C.O.D. starts off on the right track, but the story loses focus about a third of the way through when Carter walks in on his parents going at it on the breakfast table. From there, the movie switches gears and becomes more about Carter trying to keep secrets and, what, becoming even more emotionally damaged? We want to see him cope better, not pick up a set of drum sticks and start beating away like a teen ticked off at mom and dad. There might be one adult without blinders on in the entire movie and she’s made a minor character so the rest of the cast can get the better lines.
A.C.O.D. is occasionally funny (primarily due to Scott’s delivery and Scott and Duke’s chemistry) and engaging (Jenkins and O’Hara have some terrific and natural back-and-forths), but it doesn’t say as much as it thinks it does. A.C.O.D. is written by Ben Karlin (who won Emmys for writing Comedy Central’s THE DAILY SHOW and ABC’s MODERN FAMILY) and director Stuart Zicherman, who wrote 2005’s superhero dud ELEKTRA. The story is at least partly inspired by Zicherman’s own experiences (if Carter is Rick, then Stuart is Carter), but, even so, it’s light on ideas and has nothing of substance to address on the subject of divorce, bickering parents and the children who have to grow up fast as a result.
As it is, A.C.O.D. is like a session of self-therapy for Zicherman that might have worked better as a journal entry. At least there he might be able to fess up that the majority of characters—even the one he inspired—are extremely narrow-minded individuals.
A.C.O.D. BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: 1.85:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. A.C.O.D. doesn’t offer much in the way of visuals, but the high-definition presentation is clean enough and offers a fine amount of detail throughout.
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; French 5.1 Dolby Digital; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French and Spanish. As with the video, the audio is very basic but still clear and sufficient for its needs.
Cast & Crew Discussions about A.C.O.D. (5:35): Writer/director Stuart Zicherman and some of the cast (including Adam Scott and Clark Duke) discuss how the project came about, the approach and ideas explored in the movie.
What Does A.C.O.D. Stand For? (0:42): Jane Lynch offers various takes on the acronym.
Public Service Announcements (6:29): There are five here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Coping with A.C.O.D.,” “Be Proud to be an A.C.O.D.,” “Have You Seen a Shaman?” “Are You Awesome?” and “Commitment-Phobic?”
Amy Poehler Outtakes (0:39)