No one could possibly quibble with the message of "Don't Divorce Me! Kids' Rules for Parents on Divorce," an HBO documentary -- produced by Rosie O'Donnell -- about the impact of divorce on children.
The style, alas, is something else again.
At 31 minutes, the special -- which premieres Sept. 20 at 6:30 p.m., obviously aimed at reaching tykes as well as adults -- hardly overstays its welcome. But using six- and seven-year-old kids to deliver their pleas directly to parents, complete with home-made signs saying things like "Learn to get along for our sake," can't help but feel preachy and manipulative.
O'Donnell has turned herself into a self-anointed maven of such messaging, having previously produced "A Family is a Family is a Family" for HBO, which -- with a stronger political foundation, validating same-sex couples and parenting -- felt considerably less irritating. The director here is Amy Schatz, responsible for the channel's "Classical Baby."
My least favorite part involved a kids round table, in which youngsters sit around discussing their feelings and sharing divorce stories. The best moment was the kid who said being able to divide and conquer -- exploiting guilty parents for two Christmases, etc. -- is kind of cool. At least that was a refreshing change of pace from all the angst and sappiness.
In essence, this is just "Kids Say the Darndest Things: Divorce Edition." Fine, send every child and family counselor in America a copy of it, to show kids they're not completely alone in dealing with these situations.
But nobody really wants to be lectured to -- even if (or perhaps especially if) it comes from children.
Perhaps that's why I couldn't separate myself from "Don't Divorce Me" fast enough.