Review: Good luck loving the ‘Coopers’

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

The family holiday movie has long since been replaced by the dysfunctional family holiday movie, which is either an acknowledgment that we’re all messed up or a cynical cop-out on the format.

“Love the Coopers” proudly flaunts the messed up family at its center — mom and dad want a divorce! Their kids are unhappy! — but it comes at the expense of any logic in the script, which feels overwritten and undercooked at the same time.

“Love the Coopers” crams so many characters and storylines into its running time that it’s like a one-family “Love Actually” — minus that film’s wit, humor and charm.

Meet the Coopers: Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) are ready to throw in the towel on their loveless marriage; Charlotte’s basket-case sister (Marisa Tomei) is arrested for shoplifting and spends Christmas talking to an emotionally guarded cop (Anthony Mackie); their son (Ed Helms) is in the midst of a divorce and is hiding his unemployment from his family; their insufferable daughter (Olivia Wilde) is the kind of person who says things like “I believe in the sound of Nina Simone’s voice” to people she just met and brings a stranger (Jake Lacy) home for the holidays; and Charlotte’s father (Alan Arkin) openly harbors a crush on a waitress (Amanda Seyfried) 50 years his junior. They all come together for Christmas dinner. Can someone pass the cranberry sauce?

“Love the Coopers” feels like many films that came before it — 2005’s “The Family Stone” even starred Keaton — and is unwelcome as a stale fruitcake. Loving the Coopers is a tall order, it’s hard enough to even tolerate them.

‘Love the Coopers’


Rated PG-13: For for thematic elements, language and some sexuality

Running time: 110 minutes