Film review: Love the Coopers – star-studded family reunion comedy is a dud
The A-list cast, including Diane Keaton and John Goodman, sleepwalk their way through a film so bad not even a Christmas miracle could salvage it
Love the Coopers reminds us that there are few things worse than booze-fuelled family gatherings, but one of them is definitely schmaltzy Hollywood movies about such reunions. Drawing numerous narrative threads towards a climactic yuletide dinner, the film introduces four generations of one family, who must overcome grudges and failings, let slip the odd lingering secret, and possibly realise the true meaning of Christmas.
The A-list cast members sleepwalk through their respective stories, generating little in the way of humour or sympathy along the way. John Goodman and Diane Keaton are the parents, secretly on the verge of separation. Their son (Ed Helms), a divorced father of two, has just lost his job; their daughter (Olivia Wilde) picks up a marine (Jake Lacy) at an airport bar, convincing him to masquerade as her boyfriend.
Meanwhile, grandpa Alan Arkin is about to lose his favourite waitress (Amanda Seyfried), auntie Emma (Marisa Tomei) is caught shoplifting by a sympathetic cop (Anthony Mackie), and grandson Charlie (Timothée Chalamet) might just score his first kiss under the mistletoe.
When Steve Martin, delivering an omniscient narration from the perspective of the family dog, conjures up neither a laugh nor single moment of genuine festive cheer, alarm – rather than sleigh – bells should start ringing. Love The Coopers is so bad it makes the prospect of another conversation with grandma seem genuinely appealing.
Love the Coopers opens on December 17