Category: Miramax Films
A content and successful man decides to revisit a former counselor to make sense of his brother’s wedding and his parents’ extremely messy divorce. When he realizes his life has been personified in a book about children of divorce written by his mediocre counselor, he decides to confront his family about their dysfunctional nature.
A.C.O.D. is an American comedy film directed by Stu Zicherman, based on a script by Zicherman and Ben Karlin, and starring Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Jessica Alba and Jane Lynch. The name of the film is an abbreviation for Adult Children of Divorce.
A.C.O.D. follows a seemingly well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce (Adam Scott) who is forced to revisit the chaos of his parents (Catherine O’Hara and Richard Jenkins) bitter divorce all over again after his younger brother (Clark Duke) decides to get married.
About the Production
Teddy Schwarzman produced the film through his Black Bear Pictures production company. Other stars include Richard Jenkins, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Catherine O’Hara, with Ken Howard and Clark Duke in supporting roles. The film was released in the U.S. on October 4, 2013.
Filming began on March 12, 2012 in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill area. It has done some filming at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Scenes were also shot in Decatur at the end of the month. By early April, filming had taken place in Buckhead, near Lake Lanier, Alba got temporary tattoos of a trio of roses on her left biceps and a bow on her tailbone for her role in the film from an Atlanta-based artist.
Teddy Schwarzman is producing the film through his Black Bear Pictures production company. Other stars include Richard Jenkins, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Catherine O’Hara, with Ken Howard and Clark Duke in supporting roles.
Filming for the film began on March 12, 2012 in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill area. It has done some filming at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Scenes were also shot in Decatur at the end of the month. By early April, filming had taken place in Buckhead, near Lake Lanier. Jessica Alba got temporary tattoos of a trio of roses on her left bicep and a bow on her tailbone for her role in the film from an Atlanta-based artist.
Review for A.C.O.D.
“A.C.O.D.”, an acronym that stands for Adult Children of Divorce, could easily be played for heavy drama. Carter (Adam Scott) is in many ways a model A.C.O.D., heroically tolerant of his warring parents Hugh (Richard Jenkins) and Melissa (Catherine O’Hara), wry and distanced but still open enough to try to love other people. That openness is a hard-won victory. His parents are jerks, and the tricky thing about them is that they’re charismatic jerks, selfish and self-indulgent Baby Boomers whose mantra is always “the heart wants what it wants.” They are monsters, basically, and they are believable monsters, and first-time director Stu Zicherman never makes them more outlandish than they should be to get broader or bigger laughs.
When Melissa tells her younger son Trey (Clark Duke), “Darling, you were a mistake,” it takes a second or two to process the fact that she is actually telling him this in an attempt to be reassuring. A moment like this is not either funny or sad: it’s shocking, and it gets to the root of the mystery of some human behavior.
The film starts off rather badly with a flashback to Carter’s ninth birthday party and some “Arrested Development”-aping narration, but it soon abandons this conceit and finds a specific tone of its own. “A.C.O.D.” is a sharp, dark-ish character comedy, settling for a dry tolerance in its point of view that is very appealing and even admirable.
Carter has to deal not only with his family but also with a totally unprofessional counselor named Dr. Judith (Jane Lynch), 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. Hugh’s new trophy wife Sondra (Amy Poehler) is also in the mix, so we have three major comic actresses working at their best level here, insisting on the truth of the people they are playing and letting any laughs take care of themselves.
At first, I wasn’t quite sure what O’Hara was doing with her character, but it turned out that she was already so advanced in her playing of this woman that I just needed to catch up with Melissa’s brusque and imperturbable self-absorption. Lynch works in the bossy vein that she has mined on her TV show “Glee” and in other films, but as with O’Hara there is a core of human insight to what she’s doing. And Poehler takes a role that might have been merely window dressing and makes a three-dimensional, very troubled person out of her.
It’s been said often, but it is worth saying again: comic actors never seem to get awards or even nominations for the work that they do, but it seems clear to me that O’Hara, Lynch and Poehler are all working at as high a level of technique and creativity as, say, Cate Blanchett or Kate Winslet without signaling that they are Acting. They are doing very original work here, and they are matched by Jenkins, who makes his heel of a Dad into a force of nature to match O’Hara’s Melissa, and Scott, who holds the whole film together with a discreet kind of charm, kindness and willing self-effacement.
“A.C.O.D.” is written and directed with a sure hand, and if the editing sometimes feels a little anxious, that’s understandable for a first feature. Zicherman’s sensibility is subtle, graceful, scrupulously fair, and intelligent without having to make a show of intelligence. His first film is a model of what a modern film comedy might be.
Directed by: Stu Zicherman
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jessica Alba, Catherine O’Hara, Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Isabella Zentkovich, Valerie Payton
Screenplay by: Ben Karlin, Stu Zicherman
Production Design by: John Paino
Cinematography by: John Bailey
Film Editing by: Jeffrey Wolf
Costume Design by: David C. Robinson
Set Decoration by: Robert Covelman
Music by: Nick Urata
MPAA Rating: R for language and brief sexual content.
Studio: Miramax Films
Release Date: October 4, 2013