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When four generations of the Cooper clan come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday. Written by
Funny, Realistic, and A Long-Winded "Christmas" Tale
Better late than never I always say! Hi I'm Robbie K and this review is on a comedy designed to be a holiday treat for the bunch. The name of the movie is Love the Coopers, which from the trailers looked to be packed with stars who were ready to make you bust a gut with lots of laughs. Of course we do know that multiple big names in one movie often leads to disaster in terms of quality and plot (Valentine's Day and New Years Eve anyone?). Anyway, let's get started on the review.
For a comedy, Love the Coopers has a bit more wit involved in terms of making you laugh. By wit I don't mean the dry comedy that you have to be in the loop to understand, but more so in how well it is integrated into the story. The dialogue happens naturally, flowing into the normal routine instead of shoving a comedic ploy into our faces. In addition the variety of the jokes helped keep the movie fresh and fun, ranging from sexual innuendos and first time kisses to insults and the art of lying. Even better was how all of these jokes fit into place and worked with the individual's story to further maximize the timing. And yet I think all of it would have failed had it not been for the actor's delivery. Whether it was John Goodman's sarcasm, Olivia Wilde's angst and attitude, or June Squibb playing the clueless aunt it all was maximized by how well they sold the lines. Or in some cases it might have just been a facial expression that got me laughing, primarily from Rags the dog who continues to take the drama and roll with it in some way.
So strong comedy must mean good story right? Wrong! Love the Coopers' plot was very lacking in entertainment for this reviewer. As I feared, the tale was very fragmented with multiple mini-plot lines slowly converging until they all meet in the end. This tactic has worked in the past, but like most modern comedies, they lack balance. Some of these plot lines are strong, taking constant screen time and establishing the backbone. Others however would have their 15 minutes of fame and then not be seen for some time, often hastily concluded with the reunion of plot lines. Fortunately it's all wrapped in a nice Christmas package, however untraditional it is. This isn't the run of the mill, feel good movie that you see on Hallmark though, but instead one that uses the Holiday as a means for character evaluation. Love the Coopers is actually a downer, especially at the beginning where all the problems come to light. Thus with the poor plot and depressing tone, I felt this movie dragged at a lot of the parts, making the 107 minutes feel more like 180 minutes. I'll admit I nearly nodded off a few times as well, so that might be something to take to mind. No surprise everything comes full circle in the end and you'll get some grand lessons if you keep your mind open, but it certainly isn't the most moving piece I've seen.
As I mentioned earlier, the actors really are the strongest part of this movie. John Goodman was my particular favorite as the big man continues to impress me with his wide spectrum of characters. He's funny, serious, and keeps the stories tethered together and plays exactly like the stereotypical head of the household. Diane Keaton unfortunately was not in my favor this time not so much for her acting, but that her character was so annoying. She's a good counter to Goodman's calmness and a great source of drama, but it was a little too much for me. Olivia Wilde steps back in the light with a decent role that combines sexuality with mischief and uses her gorgeous looks to complete the character. Ed Helms is a little more down to Earth in this film, trading in overacted arrogance and stupidity for a more believable character. It was nice getting to see a more serious side of things, and helps add a bit of awkwardness to an otherwise cut and dry family. Alan Arkin is great as always, though underutilized in my opinion and would have been great to have a few more quips and lessons to add to the mix. Heck even the kids impressed me with how fitting their characters were taking components of a Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, and a Hallmark kid and wrapping it into one. And Steve Martin as the narrator added a nice tree topper, fitting right in line with the various narrators of classic Christmas stories.
Love the Coopers is an okay film, but certainly isn't your run of the mill Christmas tale. Sure the comedy was a nice variation, and the acting certainly made the characters alive and relevant. Unfortunately this movie was just too monotonous, long-winded and depressing to make this movie fully entertaining. I'm sure you can guess from my review that this movie really isn't worth the trip to the theater, not only due to lack of entertainment but also a lack of special effects. Therefore this reviewer recommends skipping this movie at the time and finding an alternative to this movie.
My scores for this film are:
Comedy: 6.5 Movie Overall: 6.0
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