Jungle
Love the Coopers

Love the Coopers

Movie
Director(s): 
Genre: 
In Theatres: 
Nov 13, 2015
Grade:
C
Running Time: 
107 minutes

Now that Halloween is over we can skip right over Thanksgiving and go straight into Christmas. Love the Coopers is the first holiday movie to hit the theaters this season, but don’t expect much love from its story. In fact, Love the Coopers might just be one of the most depressing movies this Christmas. All families have a little disfunction in them, but the Coopers take the whole cake.

 

It’s Christmas Eve and the Cooper household is getting ready for another yearly dinner where four generations of family will be present. This year, unfortunately, hosts Sam (John Goodman) and Charlotte (Diane Keaton) plan to the rest of the family that they will be getting a divorce. They just want to get through one more Christmas together. Everyone else has their fair share of problems, too. Hank (Ed Helms) is out of a job and struggling to find new work. Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) is perpetually single and can never seem to hold a real relationship. Charlotte’s sister Emma (Marisa Tomei) has just been arrested for stealing a broach. The only semi-stable member of the family is Bucky (Alan Arkin), who spends his days at the local diner chatting with his waitress/friend Ruby (Amanda Seyfried). And for one night, they’ll all be together under the same roof.

 

It’s difficult to love the Coopers when there’s not much to like in the first place. The film is stretched extremely thin as it attempts to focus on every member of the family’s individual story. The family is too big and has too much going on to keep track of it all. The entire film revolves around describing these people's’ problems, but fails to take the adequate time to resolve them. The two best stories, however, involve Eleanor and Emma.

 

Eleanor, not wanting to be a disappointment to her parents once again, convinces Joe (Jake Lacy), an Army soldier she met at the airport bar, to pretend to be her boyfriend for the evening. It’s the whole “pretend to be in love, but then actually fall in love” scenario. Even though we’ve seen it play out plenty of times on screen before, I still couldn’t help but be drawn to Olivia Wilde and Jake Lacy’s characters. They make it work.

 

It’s the same thing for Emma, who finds herself on the way to the police station with Officer Williams (Anthony Mackie). While in the back of the police car in handcuffs the two strike up a conversation and have a meaningful heart-to-heart talk with each other. I actually really enjoyed Mackie’s performance, but was disappointed at how little screen time he received.

 

The rest of the Cooper family is largely forgettable. By the time you get invested in a character the film switches to someone else. As a result, there’s very little to care about.

 

Love the Coopers feels like a holiday movie whose aim is to make audiences sad. It's supposed to be a comedy, but there's just not much to laugh at. Yes, it has a happy conclusion as you would expect, but it comes so close to the end that it doesn’t make up for the constant depression that is the rest of the film.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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