Adam Scott has a controlled, almost overly impeccable charisma. Handsome, with small precise facial features, he has a witty, hiply downcast delivery that, on screen, can make him seem like a unit unto himself. As caustically funny and winning as he is, there’s something almost preternaturally detached about him, which is why he’s so ideally cast in A.C.O.D. (The title stands for ”adult children of divorce.”) Scott plays Carter, who has spent his life trying to crawl out from under the wreckage of his parents’ hateful, ugly breakup. In a reaction to their savage bickering, he moves forward with extreme caution, and takes pains to be honorable and upstanding. He owns a restaurant and has a devoted girlfriend (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) as well as a happy blob of a little brother (Clark Duke), whom he helps support. He lives responsibly, without any visible problems. As it turns out, that’s his whole problem.
Carter is an expert at managing his own life; he’s just not so great at letting go and living it. When his brother announces that he’s getting married, it means that Carter is going to have to deal with his parents — played by Richard Jenkins and Catherine O’Hara, who square off like two scraggly jungle cats. A.C.O.D. is a wild and woolly family comedy that sprawls, at times a bit too much. Yet it keeps goosing you, especially when Carter goes toe-to-toe with his old shrink (Jane Lynch), who wrote a book-length study of him and several other children of divorce and is now doing the sequel. Lynch, less farcical than usual, speaks very funny home truths in her lightly hostile way. So does the movie. B+