Friday, November 13, 2015

Love the Coopers


This review originally appeared on SFist.com.

As I've previously noted, if the cast is large and full of well-known names, you can be pretty sure the movie will be terrible. Love the Coopers proves that point once again. If you think this looks like an uplifting Christmas story about the love of family, think again. Sure, it wants to be, but instead it's a depressing mess. And I'm not talking depressing in the way say, It's a Wonderful Life is a depressing Christmas movie that makes you cry but also feel good about humanity. Love the Coopers is about as enjoyable as one would imagine spending the holidays with a highly dysfunctional family would be.

And that huge cast is just all wrong! Diane Keaton and John Goodman play mom and dad Cooper. I was wondering why the camera seemed to be smeared with Vaseline every time they were on screen, then saw who was cast as their siblings and grandparents and understood; they're suppose to be playing a lot younger than they actually are. Keaton is 69. Alan Arkin, who is 81, plays her father. Marissa Tomei plays her younger sister, and we're talking younger by like six years, not the actual, real-life, 20 year difference between them. Finally, Ed Helms plays their son, who became a father during high school, but whose oldest child is only about 15 and WHAT?!

I bring this all up because it makes for a confusing movie when you're spending the first half trying to understand how all these people could possibly be related to each other. (And don't even get me started on why Steve Martin narrates the whole thing.)

The movie does have its one bright spot, and that's the romantic storyline centered on the Cooper daughter, played by Olivia Wilde, and a newly enlisted solider, (Jake Lacy) she recruits to be her pretend-boyfriend. They'e the source of the film's only real laughs and heart-tugs.

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