Dysfunctional families is a common theme in the movies and new indie movie A.C.O.D (Adult child of divorce) features one that’s more dysfunctional than most.
Starring Adam Scott as Carter, the film shows how being stuck between warring parents can cause problems for adult children as well, long after the divorce is finalised. Carter’s dad, Hugh (Richard Jenkins), is remarried to Sondra (Amy Poehler), a much younger woman than his ex-wife Melissa (played by Catherine O’Hara), who still isn’t ready to move on from fighting with her former husband. As if that wasn’t enough, Carter’s brother is about to marry his girlfriend, which would be fine if it wasn’t for the fact that he’s only known her for four months.
All the stress pushes Carter into therapy with Dr Judith (Jane Lynch) who reveals that he was in a study of divorced children and she’d like him to agree to be in the follow up.

Given the cast, if the trailer’s anything to go by, it’s going to be one seriously funny film. However, how’s it going to match up against this motley crew of dysfunctional families?

5. Little Miss Sunshine

One of the most noticeable features of dysfunctional families in feature films is the fact that beneath all their problems, the families genuinely care about each other and nowhere is that more obvious than in Little Miss Sunshine. It tells the story of a family full of troubled souls. Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette) is married to Richard (Greg Kinnear) who is attempting to carve out a career for himself as a life coach and motivational speaker. Her brother Frank (Steve Carell) is living with them after a suicide bid. Dwayne (Paul Dano), her oldest son from a previous marriage has taken a vow of silence until he is accepted into the US Air Force Academy so he can fulfil his dream of becoming a test pilot. Her father in law Edwin (Alan Arkin) has been thrown out of the retirement home he was in for using heroin, so now lives with the family as well.

The disparate group are brought together when Sheryl’s seven year old daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) discovers that she has qualified for the ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ beauty pageant in California. However, the only way they can afford for her to compete is for the whole family to pile into their VW Microbus and make the road trip together to reach the contest in two days’ time.

The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, with Fox Searchlight Pictures snapping it up. The film was nominated for a number of awards and won two Academy Awards, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Arkin.

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