Christmas with the Coopers review: A real reheated turkey

 
James Luxford
John Goodman handles the turkey

12A | ★☆☆☆☆

A glittering cast assembles for this yuletide comedy about a dysfunctional family whose separating parents (John Goodman and Diane Keaton) want everyone to come together for Christmas Day.

“It’s like trying to schedule happiness,” grumbles Alan Arkin’s grandpa, when explaining why he hates Christmas, the irony being that the film he’s appearing in is just as cynical with its sentimentality.

A cavalcade of unlikeable characters hurtle through “hilarious” obstacles to come together for the big day, with any real message about family or relationships being shirked in favour of festive shenanigans. It’s content to instead repeat “isn’t Christmas great?” over-and-over without once stopping to consider why.

The biggest crime, though, is the number of talented actors that are wasted. Goodman and Keaton alone should make an enticing proposition, but are squandered just quietly seething at each other.

When you add Ed Helms’ overwrought single dad, Marisa Tomei’s kleptomaniac sister, and (most obnoxiously) June Squibb’s flatulent, dementia-riddled aunt, you’re left wondering how such an empty, lazy film could have attracted so much talent.

Christmas with The Coopers relies far too much on a talented cast to reheat a Christmas turkey.

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