I was always more of an Ebert girl, but Gene Siskel comes in handy when talking about a film like “A.C.O.D.” The critic used to ask himself, “Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?”
This is particularly appropriate when the movie features a great cast — as “A.C.O.D.” does, with Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Catherine O’Hara and Jane Lynch, among others. For Scott and Poehler, I wouldn’t have even needed to watch them have lunch to be entertained: Coffee would have been fine. Heck, gum would have been fine. In prepping for my interview with Scott, I watched at least a dozen interviews with the two of them and enjoyed all of them more than the film.
I’m not saying “A.C.O.D.” is terrible; it’s not. (Typing its name, an acronym for “adult children of divorce,” is certainly annoying, though.) There are some solid laughs, but the script restrains each of the very talented actors. O’Hara can bring a sympathetic note to the most insane of characters — just see her work in “Best in Show” — but here she’s just a shrieking ball of bitterness. In “A.C.O.D.,” like on “Parks and Recreation,” Scott plays a tight-ass with enough romantic nerdiness to soften the stick up his heinie. “A.C.O.D.” has great actors who are great together but cuts them off at the knees with a story that just doesn’t click.
I have to assume the filmmakers haven’t seen Wil Wheaton’s online show “Tabletop,” in which the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” actor plays board games with his friends. It sounds fatally boring, but each 20-minute episode is a pleasure because it shows smart people doing fun things. (It also introduced me to a number of games, notably Ticket to Ride, which is always fun, and Pandemic, which can go right to hell for being so fun and so maddening.) If only someone had just filmed the cast of “A.C.O.D.” playing Monopoly, we might really have had something.