Directed By: Jessie Nelson
Written By: Steven Rogers
Starring: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde, Marisa Tomei, Amanda Seyfried, Jake Lacy, Anthony Mackie, June Squibb, Steve Martin (voice)
Sullywood Rating: 4/10
The poster for Love the Coopers could not be more accurate. I am of course referring to the expressions on most of the family members’ faces, a dull, depressing, lifeless stare into our souls. I’m not going to sugarcoat this review, this was one of the worst films I’ve ever paid to see in my life. Let me make this clear before I go on, I am not afraid to admit that I like most Christmas movies, even some of the Lifetime and ABC Family movies they put out year after year with washed up actors and actresses. So this is not some review written by a husband who was reluctantly dragged to see this movie.
The shear depressing nature of this whole movie sucks the Christmas cheer right out of you. There’s no big payoff in the end (if you call dancing in a hospital a big payoff). Nobody has it together. Heck even the family dog is depressed. This movie makes The Family Stone seem like cheery fun.
The main plot revolves around the characters of Diane Keaton and John Goodman contemplating a divorce, as well as the sad and unfortunate events leading up to Christmas for the rest of their family members. Each character with their own problems, that drag out the entire film. Probably the biggest flaw in this whole movie is the lack of family throughout. Arguably the best Christmas movies are the ones where a family gets together and celebrates. Sure most of those movies have their conflicts throughout, but with this movie, it feels like there was a bet among the writers to include as many depressing scenes as possible. Family Christmas movies usually provide good laughter and fun, but also they remind us of that warm, fuzzy feeling we get when we are with our own families during this grand holiday. In Love the Coopers, if I were to put a number on it, the whole family isn’t together until the last 3/4 of the film. It felt like each actor or actress stopped by the set one day and filmed all of their scenes and then they were done.
Another thing that bugged the figgy pudding out of me was the age differences between all of the characters. First, you have Alan Arkin playing Diane Keaton’s father…yes really. In real life, that would mean Arkin would’ve been 12 when he had Keaton. Also, Ed Helms’s Aunt is played by Marisa Tomei, who is only 10 years is senior, not impossible, but just seemed odd to watch. Likewise, the siblings of Ed Helms and Olivia Wilde (who might have said two words to each other in this movie) are over 10 years a part in real life. Once again, most of these things aren’t impossible, but they took away from dynamics of the relationships between each character.
Lastly, there is a small sub-plot between Alan Arkin and Amanda Seyfried. The whole movie the audience has a hard time telling whether there is a romantic connection or a father-daughter connection between these almost 50 years a part friends. The answer? You never really know. Both are teased at, which I found infuriating. I mean come on, you either feel one feeling or the other, you cannot feel both and it not be completely weird and kind of gross.
The only really enjoyable moments of this film are the interactions between Olivia Wilde and Jake Lacy’s characters in the airport. The flirting and witty banter back and forth were amusing and entertaining to watch.
Do yourself a favor and avoid this Christmas cash-in altogether. Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.
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