LOVE THE COOPERS Review — Too Soon?

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Love the Coopers reviewI have to pay respect to companies like Nordstrom, a retail chain that has vowed to deck no halls for Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I kind of wish the distributors of Love the Coopers, an “I’ll be home for Christmas” movie with an all-star cast, would have taken Nordstrom’s lead and not released the film until December. But all things considered, a premature release date is the least of this film’s worries.

While Love the Coopers tries jolly hard to be merry and bright, all the characters are ultimately sad and sodden, just trying to get through the day that leads up to their annual family Christmas Eve dinner. Cliches abound, including mall shopping, snow frolicking, visiting Santa, dotty old aunts and dog eating dinner. John Goodman and Diane Keaton play the glum patriarch and the silly matriarch of the family, with issues that are at once mundane and ridiculous.

While Jessie Nelson‘s directing is loose, Steven Rogers‘ screenwriting is sloppy. Between the two of them, they come up with head scratchers like how can Diane Keaton’s character and Marisa Tomei’s character be sisters within a few years of each other, when there is a good 18 years between the actresses in real life? And what city cop (played by Anthony Mackie) has time to drive a shoplifter (Tomei) around for hours on Christmas Eve?

Other fine actors like Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, June Squibb, Ed Helms and Alan Arkin are wasted in sub-plots that are paper thin, mostly depressing, and non-sensical. Even Steve Martin‘s soothing and savvy narration can’t save it. By the end, you’re praying for the obligatory explosion over the dinner table so everyone can finally eat the denouement dessert and go home.

You’ll find no tidings of comfort and joy here. The film feels more like a scratchy Christmas sweater, and it’s far too early to don that not-so-gay apparel.

Rated PG13

1 Hour 46 Minutes

LOVE THE COOPERS Review — Too Soon?



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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

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