Seeing as we’re a week and half out from Labor day, it’s time for advertisers to open the Christmas floodgates (not the “Holiday” floodgates, because it’s not like we choke on an accelerating deluge of Hanukkah promotions for four months). And getting out in front of the Christmas-movie market is Love The Coopers.
Diane Keaton plays a family matriarch who beckons her brood home for the holidays. All she wants for Christmas is for “everybody to have the memory of a perfect Christmas.” That is an oxymoron, of course, unless she’s talking about the perfect memory of that one Christmas Eve party when your Uncle Danny got drunk, grabbed your girlfriend’s behind, slurred through an expletive-laden treatise about the IRS, lost his pants in the bathroom, and then fell asleep sitting up so that you could draw on his face in permanent marker. Good times.
If Diane Keaton’s enthusiastic holiday mothering seems familiar, it’s probably because you’ve seen The Family Stone, which was also produced by Michael London. But this is not the Stone family, it’s the Cooper family; it’s right there in the title, see? It also looks a lot more goofy, and with much less terminal illness. John Goodman is in for the Craig T. Nelson cool Grandpa role and the stressed-out daughter bringing subterfuge into the home is played this time by Olivia Wilde, who is trying to pass off a veteran she met in the airport (Jake Lacey) as her boyfriend, and with whom she will inevitably fall in love. Marissa Tomei’s Emma is the sibling who gets arrested for eating a Christmas brooch, because if Punky Brewster taught us anything, it’s that Christmas isn’t Christmas without a five-finger discount. Son Hank (Ed Helms) is the well-meaning dad of a precocious little girl who wants no part of this holiday business. And Alan Arkin is presumably there to grinch it up, because he’s Alan Arkin.
Love The Coopers will sneak up behind you and impishly dangle mistletoe over your head when it hits theaters on November 13, just in time to spread Christmas cheer for Thanksgiving.