Love the Coopers

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Love the Coopers Movie Poster Image
All-star holiday comedy is too uneven to be memorable.
  • PG-13
  • 2015
  • 106 minutes

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Clear messages about the importance of strong family relationships and valuing honesty and communication. But themes include divorce, adultery, marriage, unemployment, abandonment, and loss -- as well as dementia, kleptomania, and loneliness.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bucky encourages Ruby to see what a wonderful woman she is and helps Hank realize that he needs to move past his insecurities and want his ex-wife to be happy.


An elderly man looks dead, but he just needs to be hospitalized.


An older married couple reminisces about their first time; a younger couple kisses a few times. Adults discuss adultery and being the "other woman."


One of each of the following: "bulls--t," "s--t," "goddamn," "damn it," "Christ" (as an exclamation), "p---y," "stupid," "loser."


TGI Friday's, McDonald's, iPhone.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults spend a lot of time drinking at a bar, and then an entire family has champagne and wine at dinner. The elder Coopers recall their pot smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love the Coopers is an ensemble holiday dramedy about three generations of a Pittsburgh family who gather for Christmas (the cast includes (Alan Arkin, John Goodman, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde, Diane Keaton, and many more). Heavily narrated and featuring nearly a dozen characters (including the family dog), the movie deals with some mature themes, including divorce, adultery, marriage, unemployment, abandonment, and loss -- in addition to adolescence, dementia, kleptomania, and loneliness. While there are some silly gags and several scatological jokes about poop, body odor, etc., most of the movie is focused on adult relationship issues that likely won't appeal to teens. Adults also drink casually and discuss their sexual history. There's occasional strong language (including "s--t" and "p---y") and some passionate kissing, including teens who kiss in a silly but graphic way (tongues out).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byCamisita March 4, 2016

Not memorable and a bit boring

I thought it was a bit strange. commercial makes it look funny and about Christmas but I didn't find it that funny, and had alot of adult oriented topics.... Continue reading
Parent of a 10-year-old Written bylongr2009 November 17, 2015

Predictable Holliday story laced with unused talent.

I took my parents to see this movie and they loved it while my boyfriend and I thought it was just ok.
The movie was predictable and laced with fresh talent to... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byKingKBrown October 25, 2020

Weird Does Not Make Sense

Dialogue: 4/10
Language: 6/10
Sex: 3/10
Violence: 1/10
Kid, 9 years old April 24, 2016

Sweet and heartwarming comedy is very funny but very racy.

My rating:PG-13 for some sexuality throughout, language, and alcohol and drug use.

What's the story?

LOVE THE COOPERS is the story of the titular Cooper clan. Charlotte (Diane Keaton) and Sam (John Goodman) are hosting their family Christmas in Pittsburgh, even though their marriage is coming to an end. Their children -- unemployed, divorced dad of three Hank (Ed Helms) and single playwright Eleanor (Olivia Wilde) -- are both dealing with personal and professional crises, as is Charlotte's younger sister, Emma (Marisa Tomei), who has been arrested for shoplifting, and grandpa Bucky (Alan Arkin), who's mourning the thought of his best friend, young diner waitress Ruby (Amanda Seyfried), moving out of town.

Is it any good?

This entry in the "dysfunctional family reunion" subgenre is surprisingly unfunny and -- with the exception of a few sweet moments -- a waste of the ensemble cast's considerable talents. The entire film looks so dark and grim that audiences may wonder whether they're watching it through a washed-out filter. It's that unsettling. And most of the characters' ages don't make any sense. Keaton and Tomei have a 20-year age difference but play sisters (not impossible, but unlikely!), and Arkin is only a decade older than Keaton. He'd be more believable as Keaton's husband than her dad. On top of the obvious age discrepancies, the movie suffers from a predictable, plodding script and remarkably unlikable characters. 

Wilde gets a lot of screen time as Eleanor, a writer who's sick of Charlotte wondering when she's going to settle down. At the airport bar, Eleanor meets a handsome soldier (Jake Lacey) with whom she shares an instant attraction. They end up pretending they're together so Eleanor can get through the night with her parents. There are many other subplots, including a vaguely romantic connection between Ruby and Bucky, who goes to the diner daily just to talk to her, and a strange police-car dialogue between Emma and the cop who arrests her (Anthony Mackie). But it never adds up to anything meaningful. It's a shame that a movie with so many memorable actors could fall so flat.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of holiday movies. How does Love the Coopers compare to other holiday films about families? Why do you think holiday movies about families tend to feature so many mix-ups and feuds?

  • How do the many family members deal with their assorted problems? Which relationships seem healthy? Which seem unhealthy?

  • Would you have been interested in seeing this movie if the cast had included lesser-known actors?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romcoms and holidays

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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