On Christmas Eve The Coopers prepare to get together for their traditional annual gathering. This year things are not going particularly smoothly though. Matriarch, Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and patriarch, Sam (John Goodman) are on the verge of divorce and in disagreement over whether or not they should tell their children. Their son, Hank (Ed Helms) is still reeling from his recent divorce and Charlotte’s sister, Emma (Marisa Tomei) has been arrested for shoplifting.
If that wasn’t enough, daughter Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) is avoiding going home by befriending a stranded solider, Grandpa, Bucky (Alan Arkin) is devastated about losing his favourite waitress and Aunt Fishy (June Squibb) keeps getting confused. As Rags, the dog (Steve Martin) narrates what is going on, the family navigates what is means to be a family and whether old resentments can ever be buried.
I won’t pretend Love the Coopers isn’t predictable and lousy with cliché but what it does have is a great cast, a lot of heart and plenty of laughs, which means it almost works… but not quite.
Having a dog narrate the story is a bit strange and tonally it’s a bit all over the shop which makes it not quite believable.
I’ve seen better… I’ve seen worse. A passable Christmas film but no classic.