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Originally published Thursday, October 17, 2013 at 3:07 PM

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‘A.C.O.D.’: Cast is the better half of this divorce comedy

A movie review of “A.C.O.D.,” a comedy about a grown man (Adam Scott) still living with the consequences of his parents’ divorce.

San Francisco Chronicle

Movie Review 2 stars

‘A.C.O.D.,’ with Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Jane Lynch, Jessica Alba. Directed by Stu Zicherman, from a screenplay by Zicherman and Ben Karlin. 90 minutes. Rated R for language and brief sexual content. Several theaters.

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For a comedy by a first-time director, “A.C.O.D.” — it stands for “Adult Children of Divorce” — has a remarkable cast. Adam Scott stars, as a grown man still living with the consequences of his parents’ divorce, and he’s supported by a lot of people who either have headlined or easily could headline their own movie: Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Ken Howard, Amy Poehler, Jessica Alba and Jane Lynch.

That’s a lot of talent and star power at play here, made all the more conspicuous in that they don’t really get much to work with.

In “A.C.O.D.,” the parents — Jenkins and O’Hara — are long divorced and hate each other. Their youngest son is getting married, so the elder son, Carter (Scott), contrives to bring about a rapprochement. From there, zany high jinks ensue. But there’s a major flaw in the story construction, which director Stu Zicherman almost but can’t quite paper over with energy and high spirits: Nothing that happens in the movie really has any real consequences for Carter. As he has nothing at stake, neither does the audience.

To its credit, “A.C.O.D.” does have amusing moments and even a couple of surprises, and it’s certainly watchable. But the overall tone of “A.C.O.D.” works against it, one in which characters are trivialized even as we’re asked to take them seriously. It’s as if the filmmakers are riffing on truths and associations we’re expected to know and share, rather going down the extra layer to the real feelings, the real truth ... and the real laughs.

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