We’re only into the second week of November, and everywhere you go, it appears that every single store is getting ready for Christmas. And now we have our first movie of the year that is set around the holiday hitting theaters this Friday, Nov. 13. Oh, boy
“Love the Coopers” stars a ton of people. There’s Alan Arkin, Ed Helms, John Goodman, Diane Keaton, June Squibb, Marisa Tomei, Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Anthony Mackie, and Jake Lacey – all in this hour and 45 minute long film about the trials and tribulations of trying to get the whole family together for Christmas. We’ve seen this movie dozens of times in the past, and “Love the Coopers” doesn’t really add anything new to the formula.
Goodman and Keaton are Sam and Charlotte Cooper, a couple whose marriage has been on the rocks for quite some time. Now that their kids are all grown up and have moved out of the house, the love that they once had fizzled is gone, and most of their time is spent arguing with each other. Of course, things start to get worse as they try to get their house prepped for their gigantic family to come over for Christmas dinner.
Helms plays their son, Hank, who’s recently unemployed and going through a divorce from his wife (Alex Borstein). The two have children together, so even though their relationship is busted, they try to keep things together during the holiday season.
Olivia Wilde plays Eleanor, the daughter of Sam and Charlotte, and she’s trying desperately to find a man to take home, so she can show her parents that her life isn’t all that meaningless – and that she’s at least accomplished something in the dating area. In comes Joe (Lacey), a soldier in the U.S. Army who’s trying to get home to his family before he gets sent overseas. But his plane is delayed, as is hers (go figure), and the two end up waiting together and chatting with each other over drinks in the airport bar.
As contrived and predictable as the whole movie is, Lacey and Wilde actually have some great chemistry together in the airport – and one wishes that there had been a better script to put these two in, because the rest of the movie is a mess. There are actually moments of good humor and moments of cheer that can be felt during their time together. Even as things take the obvious turn, there’s more of an interest in “Love the Coopers” when these two are on screen.
There’s nearly a 20-year gap between Tomei and Keaton in real life, but in “Love the Coopers,” they play sisters who only have a few years in age difference – and it’s really hard to take that aspect seriously. Tomei’s Emma is always the one family member who is late and, at least this time around, we find out why. She wants to get something special for her sister, and so she decides to rob a store – and gets caught in the process. What follows is the longest police ride in which she gives a therapy session to the lonely Officer Williams. It’s the most unnecessary subplot of the whole film.
“Love the Coopers” relies a little too heavily on shock ya humor where a little girl calls adults a profane term over and over again. There are also some unfunny moments that involve farting and food being spat out of someone’s mouth due to choking or talking while eating at the same time. It just takes whatever has been used in the past – things that didn’t even work the first time around – and shoves it in here.
There are maybe a few chuckle-worthy moments in “Love the Coopers,” but they come so few and far between the amount of junk that’s contained within the rest of the film. And it’s all narrated by someone whom you don’t really expect to be narrating the film, and when it’s revealed, you go, “Really?”