Christmas with the Coopers (12A)

Diane Keaton in The Godfather. John Goodman in The Big Lebowski. Amanda Seyfried in, um, A Million Ways to Die in the West. All actors and films better than Christmas with the Coopers.  And before you begin accusing me of being a Scrooge, let me tell you why my weapons-grade humbug is absolutely justified.

Taking beats from Love Actually, this ensemble Christmas dramedy concerns a bunch of stereotypes all connected to the eponymous dysfunctional family, trying to get together for Christmas Eve. At the centre of it all is a couple who decide to give their relationship one last chance after 40 years together, and everyone else spins off from that. There’s a nihilistic writer and Christian Republican soldier’s fleeting romance (based on the principles that they have absolutely nothing in common, so therefore should despise one another), there’s a young boy’s attempt to French-kiss his way through Christmas, and (perhaps most corrosively) a white shoplifter’s efforts to help a withdrawn black police officer come to terms with his repressed homosexuality.

“don’t accuse me of being a Scrooge, because i’ll tell you why my weapons-grade humbug is justified”

Christmas is the season for harmless comedies and heartwarming tales, yet Christmas with the Coopers proves to be the exact opposite. A box-ticking selection of token issues drag this from mediocre flick to truly nasty territory, turning the mawkish sentimentality to narrative disease, infecting every aspect of Christmas spirit and making it rotten. This is pretty much everything I hate about Christmas movies (and I mostly like them); the forced familial reconciliation, laughing at elderly people with health issues, bratty children acting as Cupid over and over and over…again…

With this film, you’d feel shortchanged if you saw it on Movies24, it is not only a cynical paycheck of a film, but it’s also a huge, anomalous black-hole, sucking in the careers of its cast in exchange for their soul. Cinematic bleach.

More like this: Christmas With The Kranks (2004)

Rating: 1/10

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