Love the Coopers review
Do you notice that a lot of made for television Christmas movies have stage play-like quality to the writing? Many of those movies deal with family drama and to be fair, has potential to be just as juicy as many of the plays that they are trying to imitate. Of course for the average Joe, the corniness and stereotype characters are enough just to see some nice Christmas colors that rarely show up these days. Now for someone that constantly watches movies, I really wonder why these kind of projects use writers that clearly only want to collect a paycheck and never engage.
My family isn’t the kind that’s ripe for a Christmas special as most are for the same reason; we are boring. The holidays are a wonderful time but it’s rare to bring out a controversial subject, but no one wants to be the to kill the party. I’m sure there are families out there that have issue and if they are brought up during this period, then they are brave people to do so. I would think showing these brave individuals would have some heavy material that could bring something new to the Christmas family genre. Too bad nobody told that to those that made Love the Coopers.
Here we have a large family that’s getting ready for their Christmas Eve festivities as we first zoom in on our family patriarchs, Sam Cooper (played by John Goodman) and Charlotte Cooper (played by Diane Keaton) who are under the assumption that this will be the last as a full family with their adult children and families as the two are considering a divorce. The love they’ve had for years seems gone and spend plenty of time arguing over vacations and family. They haven’t told anyone, so they put up a loving show for the sake of their children.
The first of the Sam & Charlotte kids is Hank (played by Ed Helms) who is looking for work after being let go from his photography job. His kids are Charlie whos looking for his first kiss, Bo who wants his brother to be happy, and Madison who’s just here to enjoy the holidays. The other adult child is Eleanor (played by Olivia Wilde) who is an aspiring writer who can’t stand to be with her family. We also have a senile great aunt Fishy (played by June Squib), sister of Charlotte life coach Emma (played by Marisa Tomei), and father of Charlotte professor Bucky (played by Alan Arkin). Oh, and their dog is narrating (voiced by Steve Martin).
As you can see, Love the Coopers has a very large cast of well-known actors. I would have loved to see this film take advantage of their power and work with it, but Love the Coopers is just a boring excuse for us to look at the Christmas decorations in the background.
I’ll start by saying that the marketing is false, as I thought this was going to be a comedy with some occasional drama but plenty of yuletide yucks. That is not the case as this movie is actually a drama with almost no laughs.
None of the actors ever have anything clever to say, and I mean never. I think at the most, except for a dog-farting joke (that I laughed at), we’re just watching a family that is way too clean and polished to seem like a real family with problems. The worst part of all is that the problems they do pick are either cliché or just too uncomfortable.
I’ll give this two dog eaten turkeys out of five. Aside from a gorgeous looking picture, it feels too nice and cowardly to take any real chances. If you want a better Christmas movie about conflicting families, I’d say watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or The Ref. Love the Coopers is like getting a nice Christmas card from a family you barley know; you look at the imagery and message before throwing it away to never remember them again.