Love the Coopers Review by Ashley Menzel
An homage to the classic 90s family holiday movies that warms your heart and rekindles holiday spirit and the unity of family.
Love the Coopers is the newest family holiday film starring Diane Keaton, June Squibb, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, Amanda Seyfried, Alan Arkin, and Jake Lacey. Love the Coopers is not a perfect film, but it has a level of nostalgia that brings home the dysfunctional love of family around the holidays.
The story centers on the Cooper family and their interactions with others. Charlotte (Keaton) and Sam (Goodman) Cooper live in a house with their dog, Rags (voiced by Steve Martin). They are grandparents and are struggling with how to tell their family that they are planning to divorce. Hank, their son (Helms) and Angie (Alex Borstein) are divorced and have two kids, Charlie (Timothée Chalamet) and Bo (Maxwell Simkins). Charlie is spending his time trying to get close to a girl at the mall, while Bo is looking for the best Christmas present for his brother.
Eleanor, the daughter of Charlotte and Sam is at an airport bar avoiding going home when she runs into Joe (Jake Lacey), a snowed in Army man stuck in the airport on Christmas. Eleanor and Joe have a tumultuous few hours at the airport, cycling through a relationship in a matter of hours, but Eleanor convinces Joe to pretend to be her boyfriend. They head home and along the way, find out more and more about each other.
Emma (Tomei) is Charlotte’s dysfunctional disgruntled sister who is always getting in trouble and feels like she is a disappointment to her family. In a rash moment, she decides to try to steal a brooch from the mall and is arrested. Her story is shown through the back of a cop car on her ride to the station with Officer Williams (Anthony Mackie).
Bucky (Arkin), the father of Charlotte and Emma, goes to the same diner every day to see Ruby (Seyfried). They discuss movies and life. Even though he hates the food, he continues to come just to see her.
Aunt Fishy played by the lovely June Squibb is the adorable and free spirited older aunt at the table. She is just happy being around her family and brings much comedy to the film.
Some storylines in the film are stronger than others. I personally loved the chemistry between Goodman and Keaton in the film. I could have done without the teenage make out story line that went a little too far on the grossing out factor. I also was always rooting for Eleanor and Joe to come together in the end. This is definitely a film that you can bring your mom or grandmother to see.
The story is a wonderful little montage of the family during the holidays and all of their struggles. What makes this film wonderful is the reality that is in all the characters. Their real jealousy, fear and disappointment coupled with the supportive love of family is all we need to go full on Team Holiday Spirit. Rags, the dog is a huge and loveable friend, following the family wherever they go. In no way is this film perfect, but delightfully imperfect and a great addition to the family holiday collection.