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Love the Coopers review

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Love the Cooper




pg 13. 107 min




Well you know the old saying, there's nothing new under the Sun, and that is doubly true for dysfunctional family Christmas movies. Oh it doesn't really have to be Christmas, it might be Thanksgiving, Easter, a wedding, a funeral any number of social gatherings but they all pretty much share an outline.


So here's the setup. Almost invariably there are two or three or four family members simultaneously on their way home from different points of the city or the globe.


Each member, or couple involved in the rendezvous has their own special brand of neurosis. One or all of the group has some kind of a grudge against another or all of them. Someone is either divorced or about to be or recently, widowed. You will often find a bratty kid , a crazy old person and a family pet. Almost all of the action will take place within the family home with a possible short variation do a police station or hospital or bar.


And true to the blue print the cast here, while certainly boasting a few bright spots, is not exactly what you would call star-studded. Don't get me wrong, I love John Goodman, Alan Arkin, Diane Keaton and Marisa Tomei but probably even these four our residents of the outskirts of the A list.


Here's a quick rundown of the situations that will converge for the prerequisite resolution at the end of LOVE THE COOPERS.


Afflicted with empty nest syndrome, mom (Keaton) and dad (Goodman) are beginning to question there decades long relationship and seriously considering separation.


Mom's sister (Tomei ) has spent her life with some sort of sibling animosity buried deep inside which causes her to act out even in middle age.


Grandpa (Arkin) is a retired teacher who eats everyday at the local diner even despite the bad food. Why? He has taken a fancy to a lonly and ungrounded waitress to whom he act as a friend and mentor.


There's the rebellious daughter (Olivia Wilde) who has a bad attitude and a chip on her shoulder for some reason.


She convinces a straight arrow serviceman she needs while stuck at the airport to come home for Christmas dinner and pretend to be her fiance just to shut the folks up.


The son is something of a nebbish, lonely and lost after losing his wife to divorce and his silly job to automation.


The grandson a chip off the old block, frightened to the core of approaching the girl on which he has his first crush.


Add to that mix a crazy old aunt on furlough from the old folks home, a kid brother and the family dog, Rags, voiced by Steve Martin, who acts as the narrator for this less than impressive family romp. By the way if you get a kick out of watching a dog snatch morsels from the dinner table, kitchen and people's plates you are in luck. They repeat this gag about every 8 minutes.



The entire bland bowl of stew sits on the holiday table right between darker humor cookies and the hijinks of a Griswold Christmas gravy.


You probably won't have a great deal of empathy with any of the dysfunctional characters but probably won't really hate anyone either. Personally I kind of hoped grandpa would hook up with the waitress but I guess the producers flet bad an 80 year old man and a 20-something girl would creep the audience out. Instead it only bored us.







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