Love the Coopers

The intertwined stories of four generations of Coopers unfold right before the annual family reunion on Christmas Eve.

 

Director: Jessie Nelson

Starring: Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Marisa Tomei, Ed Helms, June Squibb, Amanda Seyfried, Anthony Mackie, Alex Borstein

Rated: PG-13 (thematic elements, language and some sexuality)

Love the Coopers

By Cole Schneider

The holiday season is the most depressing time of the year for many people. Whether diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder, suffering from an active grief, or any number of other normal psychological pains onset at this time of the year, there are a disproportionate number of unhappy people being inundated with happy Christmas movies. While many families will cozy up night after night to watch ABC Family’s “25 Days of Christmas” many others will be mourning the loss of a loved one, lamenting a time gone, or despairing a present alienation. To these people, the next two months of Christmas movies bring nothing but a barrage of trite joy.

Indeed there must be a place in today’s cinemas for a Christmas movie that embraces the well documented sadness the season brings. It is with a deeply felt attendance to the need for this kind of film that I can confidently file “Love the Coopers” among both the most depressing and the worst Christmas films of all-time.

The film is narrated like a children’s book, but replaces whimsy with dread and uses this seemingly purposeful dictation for nothing more than oppression. Where sadness might be a worthy consumption, it is replaced with a cynicism that is no healthier than dissociating one’s self with the trite fantasies of other Christmas movies. “Love the Coopers” deals with depression the way a drunk does. It’s neither a fun escape, nor is it a healthy confrontation of grief.

The cherry on top of this brutal assault is the film’s final conceit, which is–shockingly and dishonestly–a completely trite, thoroughly happy ending. “Love the Coopers” isn’t a healthy means of confronting depression; it is instead itself depression inducing.

1 out of 5 Stars

 

Love the Coopers

By Matt Greene

At one point, a character in Love the Coopers says to another, “I think you’re funny ‘cuz you’re sad.” This sentiment seems to be the guiding force of this “December: Osage County” disaster. Unfortunately, like the movie itself, that quote never plays out as true, and the overbearing sadness never plays out as funny.  In one of the most abrasive Christmas films ever made, the message (“Your family is irredeemable and Christmas is a fraud, but what can you do?”) makes this movie a snide, depressing burden.

This unnaturally overwhelming pessimism is so draining, 20 minutes in I was looking for a way out, something I never do (I sat all the way through Pixels, for crying out loud). Alas, I stayed, only to be slaughtered with dialogue and character interactions that were nowhere near being true to anything in reality. I spent the majority of the runtime asking myself questions like: What are the ages of these ill-cast actors? Why is Steve Martin (or anyone, really) narrating this thing, when everything seems pretty clear without it? Why are the cop and his arrestee, who just met, having a heart-to-heart? Why does everyone in the family seem to enjoy watching each other make out? Just…why?!

If there was something positive to say about The Coopers, I would say it. However, this is a special kind of awful; a comedy that elicits laughs, but less of the “with” kind and more of the “at” kind. In the end, I was shocked I didn’t just reach into the screen, grab an icicle, and violently poke my eyes out. So do I Love the Coopers? Nope…I don’t even like ‘em.

0.5 out of 5 Stars

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