Saturday, November 14, 2015

Movie Review: "Love the Coopers" (2015)

Movie"Love the Coopers"
Director: Jessie Nelson
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hours, 7 minutes
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The Coopers are all about to get together for their annual Christmas eve dinner, a dinner many of the family members dread or have little interest in actually attending, but do anyway out of obligation to the family.

What. A. Damn. Misery.

"Love the Coopers" is a Christmas movie with an ensemble cast that marketed itself as a crazy, zany, lighthearted family comedy. This movie doesn't feel like a comedy at all. It is much more like a drama about a dysfunctional family going through many tough times who hate actually being with each other and are thrust into one setting of togetherness during Christmas with some failed attempts at humor thrown in for good measure (or bad measure depending on how you look at it as an audience member). The patriarch and matriarch of the Cooper clan are Sam, played by John Goodman, and Charlotte, played by Diane Keaton, who have about as much chemistry as a tuna fish sandwich covered in peanut butter and laced with cyanide, though we guess they sort of did their jobs since they were playing a couple on the fritz and were supposed to dislike each other?????? They are planning on getting divorced, but want to wait until after Christmas to tell their family so they don't ruin the holiday...that is, if they can stop arguing long enough to actually enjoy it for a split second. Their son Hank, played by obnoxious spaz Ed Helms, is recently divorced and has just lost his job, and again, doesn't want to tell his family about it because he doesn't want to be pitied during the holidays. Sam and Charlotte's daughter Eleanor, played by Olivia Wilde, asks a random stranger that she met in the airport, a stranger who is her polar opposite, to pretend to be her boyfriend for one night because she doesn't want to be judged or asked about her actual boyfriend, who is a married man and won't leave his wife for her. Charlotte's father Bucky, played by one of our usual favorites Alan Arkin, is an old man who has a seemingly romantic obsession with a young waitress named Ruby, played by Amanda Seyfried, who works at a local diner. Bucky is at least 50 years her senior, frequents the diner at least once a day, and shares his love of old movies with her whenever he gets the chance. Ruby grew up with an alcoholic mother who made the holidays difficult during her childhood. Ruby has clearly attempted suicide at some point in her life, but welcomes the company of Bucky. Then, there is Charlotte's younger sister Emma, played by Marisa Tomei, who gets arrested while shoplifting a broach because she doesn't actually want to spend any money on a present for her sister and hates spending the holidays with her but does it anyways out of obligation. She spends most of her Christmas eve in the back of a cop car trying to break through the emotional wall of police officer Williams, played by Anthony Mackie, who is closed off emotionally because he's a closeted homosexual and disappears as quickly as he shows up in the film. Can't you just feel the Christmas joy already permeating the air??? This entire story is narrated by Steve Martin and is filled with little flashback scenes of these people in their youth at times when they were either happy or even sometimes miserable, showing how they got to be the jaded, bitter individuals they are in the present.

It's movies like this that make us hate our job as movie reviewers because, simply put, "Love the Coopers" is dreadful and disingenuous. It was a humongous task to watch this film unfold. From the beginning, we knew we were in for a mess of a shambled ensemble encased in the ruins of burning Christmas mishap. Not only is this the opposite of everything a Christmas movie should be about, but the writing is atrocious on top of the acting being simultaneously under and over-acted on top of the feeling that everyone involved simply phoned in their performances for a paycheck. Diane Keaton has systematically destroyed modern Christmas films between this and "The Family Stone." John Goodman was simply a stand-in for Keaton's shrill bitching. Ed Helms spazzed it up as best he could and in one scene, even looked like he was strung out on some sort of drug, complete with twitching and frantic eye movements. June Squibb was made to act like a ridiculous fool. It was all so disappointing. In addition, this movie is one of the most poorly edited films we have seen in a long, long, long time. From abrupt, choppy scene endings to strange and out of place ultra tight camera zoom-ins and a handy-cam feel, Jessie Nelson, the director of this movie, really needs to go back and take a class in how to shoot her films since she insists upon taking several years off in between movies. Finally, if this was supposed to be a comedy, as it was advertised in its trailer, it completely failed. In fact, in addition to not being funny at all, it completely fails as a drama, too. Instead, "Love the Coopers" finds solace in acting like a third rate melodramatic soap opera, which is something CBS is very familiar with since they produced this film. Everything seems worse than forced and has the emotional depth of a rain puddle.

We absolutely 110% hated this movie. Every single Christmas earmark comes into play here, from lines and trains filled of faux Santa Clauses, to carolers, to Christmas trees by the dozens, to inner-tubing down snowy hills, to the dog eating off the Christmas table. All of these holiday designations exist in the context of this movie, but don't add up to anything. Christmas is merely the backdrop for a dysfunctional family drama that was done better 40 years ago and every 5 years since then. It is certainly one of the worst films of the year, and is one of the worst Christmas movies of all time, and we've seen "Jingle All the Way." Let us give you some unsolicited advice: If the holiday season is really that abysmal when spent with your family, seriously, just stay the fuck home. I'm sure they would appreciate you thinking about them enough to know you were there ruining their Christmas with your stomping, whining, argumentative, smarmy attitude about life and the holidays. "Love the Coopers" is uninspired, expected, and maddening from the start. It never becomes what it wants to be and doesn't even know that much. Plus, IT'S GRAMMATICALLY INCORRECT AND NEEDS A DAMN COMMA. At least the dog was cute and at least Steve Martin's narration was good. Alan Arkin, John Goodman, and June Squibb all deserve better than this wretched piece of flawed drivel.

My Rating: 2/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: ~5.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~16%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

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