It’s something of a tradition, albeit loose, at my house to go see the new Christmas film each holiday season. Of course this does have limits but past years have seen us filing into a theater row to see something like Christmas with the Kranks or The Chronicles of Narnia. The year the nominee was Love the Coopers. There is both good and bad tidings to report on.
Love the Coopers (2015) Film Review
Once family was important to the Coopers. They enjoyed traditional holidays and as a young family, were happy. But on this Christmas Eve, each of the members of the long-since scattered Cooper family reflect. Married 40 years, Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman, Diane Keaton) are ready to call it quits. This is all unknown to their children. Son Hank (Ed Helms) is divorced and unemployed with three children. Their daughter Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) seems incapable of finding success in her career as a playwright or relationships.
As Christmas approaches, the family prepares to come together for Christmas dinner including Charlotte’s sister Emma (Marisa Tomei). Only the Cooper family isn’t the only people about to sit around the dining room table. Meanwhile, Eleanor meets a soldier, Joe (Jake Lacey), delayed at the airport and about to ship out to Afghanistan. Unable to again face her mother’s “look,” she begs Joe to return home with her and pretend to be her boyfriend, a favor that snowballs out of control as does the family’s entire holiday.
Imperfections and all, I have to be honest enough to say that I absolutely appreciated this film. With so many holiday films already available that focus on the anything-that-can-go-wrong chaos premise, it was refreshing to discover something that took ten steps back from that. Because of this, I love this quieter character focused (almost Indie-esque) drama albeit presented with a healthy dose of comedy. Before going further, I will just offer an informative tidbit. Conventional viewers won’t find this film to be “good.” The reason I say this is because there are some sacrilegious “jokes” that might bother viewers. Personally, they don’t hold much weight with me because I go into these types of films anticipating something “offensive.” Right or wrong, the rarity today is discovering that one gem that doesn’t offend.
Having gotten that brief rant out of the way, let’s continue on with the reasons why I overlook the bad. With exception to the charms of Hallmark telefilms, most Christmas movies of the modern era attempt to outdo one another with copious amounts of chaos. While this makes for a comedic 90 minutes, it really serves no purpose to the characters. Here, there is a linier story told for the characters which is an almost beautiful kind of change. I loved the “heart” the script had. True there are some “awkward” faults, but overall the story is a moving one that teaches its character so much more than most of the films of this caliber master.
Broken up into separate sections, the film structures its story in a unique way. Before everything ties together in a neat Christmas bow, the vignettes (keep a close eye on everything that happens because nearly everything and everyone connects) break into sections, giving us a kind of unique perspective. It’s like a snapshot of what each character is looking for. My favorite section is the airport scenes and the train scene. But then, I’m perfectly willing to admit that may be the romantic in me talking.
If you’re looking for something fun to enjoy with the family, Love the Coopers isn’t a bad way to do that. Just know that this is more of a scrapbook film than it is a night at the comedy show. Final word would go something like this; if you prefer cleaner entertainment, turn to the charms of Hallmark Channel. But, if you don’t mind overlooking some flaws to get to the heart of a good story (seriously, the ending of this [!], the narration, and unguarded joy), strangely it reminds us to give thanks for those in our life and to embrace the “messy,” simple joys that find us on that journey.
(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)‘Love, The Coopers’: A Funny Family Indie Dramedy. A review of the 2015 "Love the Coopers" film with Diane Keaton, John Goodman & Olivia Wilde. #ChristmasMovies #FWArchives #Movies #Comedy Click To Tweet
Content: a running gag about first kisses plays out. The joke revolves around teens not knowing how to kiss [scenes feature awkward, goofy “kissing” to illustrate this point]. There are a handful of additional sexual jokes – and crude humor, and awkward “make out” scenes. One minor character is a homosexual. A woman is having an affair with a married man [conversation only]. There is some profanity, of the garden variety, and a few crude terms including a repeated term from a young girl. The film is PG13.