Thanksgiving is upon us, so that could only mean one thing, Christmas everything. Every year stores seem to forget Thanksgiving exists and start to stock their shelves for all the nice kids earlier every year. Not wanting to be left out, this is also the time of year we get the would-be next Christmas classic at your local movie theater. I say would-be, because it seems like instead of just letting it happen, studios gather up the most names you recognize and a story how everything comes together at the right time.
The first entry in this years race to be classic is “Love the Coopers”. Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) have been married for forty years, and have raised two children. Things though are not going well for Sam and Charlotte but that is not going to ruin their annual Christmas Family dinner. Their two kids, are also not having that great of a time, Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) believes she peaked at a younger age, and after a bad break up, doesn’t relieve believe in anything anymore. Meanwhile her brother Hank (Ed Helms) is going through a divorce, has no job, and his oldest kid is going through the “I hate my parents” phase. If you think being a Cooper doesn’t sound like a stellar time, don’t judge until you know the rest of the family. Which includes Emma (Marisa Tomei), who is arrested for shoplifting and Bucky (Alan Arkin), who is actually pretty normal. Being this is a Christmas though, don’t worry, everyone finds themselves and the happiness that they have been searching for, I just wish I had as well.
Every year some studio is looking for that next one to have a twenty-four hour marathon on some cable channel. The problem is you can’t plan that, and most Christmas “classics” take time to become one. “Love the Coopers” tries to be cute, as it adds a narrator to tell the story of the not so loveable Cooper family. Written by Steven Rogers ( Stepmom), the screenplay feels too often a list of things not to do, including the endings that never seem to stop. Since the writing is generic you would think the directing would be as well, and you would be right, as Jessie Nelson( I Am Sam), lives up to his writers effort. Somehow I thought this was going to be a comedy, and while there are flashes of things to smile at, most of the time everything seems forced. Christmas is my favorite time of the year and I always think of a Christmas movie as a gift. Well “ Love the Coopers” is a lot like receiving a pair of socks instead of the gift you actually wanted. I loved very little of this movie, and I have put the filmmakers on my naughty list, and I think you will do the same.