Christmas means comfort, joy and chaos

Love the Coopers
2015 | PG-13 | 1 Hr 47 Min | Comedy | Image Ent.

Director: Jessie Nelson

Writer: Steven Rogers

Steve Martin
Diane Keaton
John Goodman

When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.

Back in the day when I worked for the theater we always agreed on one thing the bigger the star list the worse the movie gets. Well, Love the Coopers takes an amazing line up and squanders it away with the likes of Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Marisa Tomei, Alan Arkin, Olivia Wilde, June Squibb, Amanda Seyfried and Anthony Mackie in a Christmas comedy of numbing boredum and tackiness.

However though all of its subplots Olivia Wilde is the only storyline that holds your interest. Almost as if this was the main part of the story and the rest was pure fluff around it.  It is quickly established that  Joe Swanberg is her Drinking Buddy as we watch them awkwardly flirt their way through this movie. Their storyline does bring much-needed vinegar to otherwise flat material. The scenes of Eleanor and Joe also stand out as the only ones grounded in any sense of contemporary reality; she ribs him about climate change, gun control, and religion, though of course, their clashing values are no match for the parents need to see Eleanor settle down.

And then there is what I think the main story to be and that involving Tomei who plays Emma, Charlotte's (Keaton) sister and easily the film's least charitable creation. Childless, husband-less, needy and passive-aggressive, Emma is also a shoplifter and ends up in the back of a police car while trying to compete with finding the perfect gift. She's envious of Charlotte's seemingly perfect suburban existence but learns a valuable life lesson, which, as far as I could tell, had something to do with the importance of buying expensive gifts for the people you love. Tomei is a superb actress as well as Keaton but man its comforting to know they both go on to make better movie choices. 

I did laugh a little and was moved mainly by Amanda Seyfried story even if it was a short one. But in the end, it was just another Christmas Movie about a dysfunctional family over the holiday looking for a cheap laugh as we watch them struggle. Many of us struggle through the holidays and are looking for a laugh or an escape through the warm glow of our television sets. Sadly the Coopers did not do it for me as Chevy Case can. 

3 Ninja Santa's out of 5


  1. Oh dear. I'll give this one a miss if I encounter it on TV next holiday season.


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