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Critics Don’t ‘Love the Coopers': 7 Worst Reviews of This Holiday Season’s Dysfunctional Family Entry

Diane Keaton and John Goodman lead the ensemble comedy cast a critic describes as one of the most ”misguided holiday movies in recent memory“

“Love the Coopers” proves critics don’t like being told what to do, because the majority of reviews aren’t obeying the title’s directive. In fact, they mostly hate the Coopers.

With a total of 15 available so far on Rotten Tomatoes, 11 are deemed “rotten,” giving the dysfunctional family holiday film starring Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms and Amanda Seyfried a low 29 percent approval rating.

With only a few reviews available at the moment, that rating could always improve. But based on the reaction readily available, it seems more likely to plummet than rise.

The review from TheWrap’s Tim Appelo is among those deemed positive by Rotten Tomatoes, as he concluded: “When it’s all said and done, you might not exactly love the Coopers, but you’ll probably slurp them down like eggnog and wind up with a pleasant, sleepy, bough-scented buzz.”

Unless the writing makes you gag.

“The screenplay by Steven Rogers (‘Stepmom’) is a dog’s breakfast: a mess, like one of the dishes Keaton serves her family, a ‘Dump Salad,'” Appelo complained. “The vignettes sometimes resonate with the viewer but don’t really connect into a plot, there are too many characters with too many stories and pretty good flashbacks, and some of the jokes are impossible to laugh out loud at unless you’re a highly trained and paid actor.”

Here are 7 more reviews that suggest audiences might be better off digging up a holiday classic from their DVD collection rather than paying to meet the Coopers in theaters.

USA Today critic Brian Truitt:

“Love the Coopers? Please. Modern holiday films hit a new low with this trite and predictable dramedy that buries its few bright spots under a heap of fruitcakes. True, most Christmas flicks tend toward the trite and predictable naturally but they just don’t have to be quite this insufferable.”

Minneapolis Star Tribune critic Colin Covert:

“If there is a TV news service seeking material for a ‘War on Christmas’ freakout, here is Villain No. 1. Tear-stained but upbeat, without being persuasive in either direction, this is the sort of trite kitsch-fest people see reluctantly out of duty to a visiting grandma. Watching this family get-together dramedy is like having a soldier-doll nutcracker crush your skull in its strong jaw. Maybe worse.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch critic Daniel Neman:

“Most. Depressing. Christmas. Movie. Ever… Of course it has an uplifting ending. It’s a Christmas movie. But before the happiness begins, we have to trudge through an unusually bleak quagmire of angst. We are treated to scenes upon scenes of bickering, quarreling, recriminations and sharp-edged analysis of selves and others. It should say something about the film that one of the least unhappy characters in it is the one who has attempted suicide… Two hours fly by like three.”

Washington Post critic Jen Chaney:

“‘Love the Coopers’ is one of the most jumbled, tonally misguided holiday movies in recent memory. It is an insult to tidings of comfort as well as joy, and a complete waste of the time and talents of its ensemble cast. Seriously, Santa Claus himself would walk out of the theater, angry enough to wage his own war on Christmas.”

A.V. Club critic Jesse Hassenger:

“As a comedy-drama, ‘Coopers’ is almost completely without laughs, which maims its ability to find the right balance of pathos and farce. But like the similarly unfunny and semi-heartfelt Keaton vehicle ‘Because I Said So’–co-written by director Jessie Nelson–it maintains a certain sincerity. How the filmmakers go about reaching for this sincerity and ambition, however, maintains a certain technical incompetence. Most of the first 75 of the movie’s 105 minutes consists of two-person dialogue scenes: Goodman and Keaton; Wilde and Lacy; Seyfried and Arkin; and so on. They’re simple set-ups, and Nelson gooses most of them with awkward, unnecessary flourishes. The camera bobs, weaves, and goes in close, over-covering most of the conversations into distracting hashes.”

Austin Chronicle critic Steve Davis:

“The movie lacks a consistent perspective: Should you laugh, cry, sigh, shrug your shoulders? Or feel something altogether different? Sometimes, a film can subtly defy categorization, but not here. Love the Coopers wants to have it any way possible, without achieving a particular point of view with which the audience can relate. Sure, family get-togethers every December may be the times that try men’s and women’s souls, but not in the fabricated manner depicted here.”

Blu-ray.com critic Brian Orndorf:

Out of touch with human emotion, comfortable with sitcom-style scenes of testy familial interplay, and stitched together with masking tape and prayers, “Love the Coopers” is a painful holiday wreck. Perhaps intentions were pure, but the movie crashes after takeoff, never quite sure what it wants to be or how it wants to celebrate the season.