Christmas with the Coopers is one of those films where you expect one thing and it’s actually a completely different. The main culprit for this is the trailer, they have actually taken all the funny moments and I mean ALL and stuck it in the trailer to make it look very much like a comedy.
Charlotte Cooper (Diane Keaton) is the matriarch of the Cooper family; the kids have all grown up and have lives of their own and she is left with husband Sam (John Goodman). With the kids no longer around, the cracks have started to appear between the two. Charlotte wants this to be the perfect last Christmas before the two go their separate ways. Enter the rest of the Cooper clan, Son Hank (Ed Helms) who is dealing with being a single parent to 3 young Children and being unemployed, Daughter Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) a playwright who always feels like a complete disappointment to her mother because of her lack of a relationship so she ropes in a random stranger she meets at the airport, Army Soldier Joe (Jake Lacy) to be her boyfriend for 24 hours as she hides the fact she is seeing a married man from her family.
The list doesn’t stop there, Emma (Marisa Tomei) is Charlotte’s bitter younger sister, who takes to stealing a brooch for Charlotte’s Christmas present and makes a friend in the cop who arrests her. We can’t forget Charlotte and Emma’s father Bucky (Alan Arkin) who has a very confusing friendship with a much younger waitress in Amanda Seyfried and Sam’s lovable aunt Fishy (June Squibb) who is rapidly losing her memory. Oh and we can’t forget the dog Rags who seems to have some kind of eating disorder in order to suppress his feelings.
Set as a narrative, from the point of view of the dog, each character gets their own storyline which lasts for 90% of the film. Whilst this may work in some films with a smaller character base there are just too many to cover here and becomes all too draining. The funniest lines come from Olivia Wilde as the Daughter in the airport as she bonds with the stranger. Hank’s little girl also delivers the best lines when she tells everyone “your such a dick” as she imitates her mother’s language to her father.
Yes, families are all different and Christmas brings out some of those frustrations that just can’t be hidden as they boil to the surface, this is reflected as the whole Cooper family sit down for their Christmas meal and tempers start to flare resulting in Bucky having a stroke. It takes this incident to bring the family together, including the fake boyfriend Joe and his love for Olivia and hers for him.
This film is more a tale of people finding out who they really are and how they feel when you strip down the bravado and dig deep down into the soul, it’s really rather depressing. This isn’t a typical Christmas comedy, a complete disappointment.
Christmas with the Coopers is out in Cinema 1st December.