Love The Coopers : Another Sappy Holiday Flunk
It’s that time again when the mandatory end-of-the-year-Christmas-loving-home-for-the-holidays-intertwining-storylines type productions are being projected onto our big-screens, reminding us all that this is a time to be feeling grateful, hopeful and joyous. Written by Steven Rogers – P.S I Love You, Stepmom – and directed by Jessie Nelson – I Am Sam –Love the Coopers, unfortunately, doesn’t evoke any of the above mentioned sentiments and fails to offer any moments of delight, thanks to its overwritten premise, poor acting and hideously cheesy setup.
It’s Christmas time and the annual gathering of the Cooper clan is just around the corner; a concept which doesn’t sit all too well with parents, Sam (Goodman) and Charlotte (Keaton), who – unbeknown to anyone else – are going through a marital crisis and are intending to go their separate ways after one final Christmas family celebration.
Their guests include daughter, Eleanor (Wilde), who is not really looking forward to another annual gathering, and, in order to make things easy on herself, she decides to bring along a soldier, Joe (Lacy) – whom she’s just met at the airport – to pretend to be her boyfriend. Their son Hank (Helms), a man struggling with divorce and unemployment is also there as is his ex-wife, Angie (Borstein), who has also decided to join in on the holiday fun with their three children. Charlotte’s widowed dad, Bucky (Arkin) – who has been infatuated with the local diner waitress, Ruby (Seyfried) for quite some time – is also in as is Charlotte’s younger sister, Emma (Tomei); a life coach who was busted for shoplifting at a local mall on her way to the Christmas Eve dinner.
If written and represented right, the idea of watching a highly dysfunctional family around a dinner table, during a time when everyone should be feeling happy and festive, can prove to be a very amusing viewing experience. However, if told wrong, it can be a rather unpleasant and an excruciating affair. As is the case with Love the Coopers, a holiday wreck of a movie which just doesn’t seem to know how to bring its overly ambitious – polite word for cluttered – and confusing screenplay together, ultimately, failing to form it in a way where the audience can clearly identify the characters and connect to their respective storylines. There is a certain amount of vagueness present in Steven Rogers’ screenplay, complete with embarrassing flashbacks and moments of pure Christmas sappiness that even the most hard-core of fans of Christmas would find to be an overkill.
Love the Coopers’ insufferable quality is hard to negate and it’s shocking to find that not even its highly-qualified cast – we’re looking at you Diane – could bring the story together. Charmless, confusing and utterly embarrassing, this could and should have been a lot more than just another run-of-the-mill Christmas flick which we’re soon to forget.