No festive cheer for me with Christmas with the Coopers *, I’m afraid. When Diane Keaton’s in a bad movie (and she often is these days) I get upset at the wasting of her comic talents. When she has to utter a clunky line like: “I just want the children to have one last perfect Christmas…”, I wince.
For that is the gist of this film. Keaton and her husband John Goodman are thinking of splitting up after 40 years together. But should they tell their grown-up children Olivia Wilde and Ed Helms about it over the traditional Xmas Eve dinner?
Of course, each child has their own problems while struggling to make it through the snow to dinner – Wilde is shagging a married doctor and picks up a soldier in an airport bar; Helms is pretending he still has a job taking photos in a shopping mall, but he doesn’t.
Alan Arkin is a grumpy bloke who can only relate to a young waitress in a diner (Amanda Seyfried) and Marisa Tomei gets caught for shoplifting but gives life advice to her arresting officer Anthony Mackie.
Do they all come together for a big Christmas Eve dance number around a dying body in the hospital? Does homely wisdom drip like greeting card syrup from the screen? Have I left anyone out of this giant turkey? Ah, Aunt Fishy, (June Squibb), who has dementia and.. oh yes, the dog, who narrates the whole story in-between scoffing the mashed potatoes – and who is voiced by Steve Martin. Woof.