When four generations of the Cooper clan (Alan Arkin, Diane Keaton, John Goodman, June Squibb, Ed Helms, Marisa Tomei, and Olivia Wilde) come together for their annual Christmas Eve celebration, a series of unexpected visitors (Alex Borstein, Amanda Seyfried, and Jake Lacy) and unlikely events turn the night upside down, leading them all toward a surprising rediscovery of family bonds and the spirit of the holiday.
Now stop me if you’ve never heard of and/or seen any of this before. So it’s almost winter so that means it’s almost Christmas. With that means Christmas films and this one is the first of this season (seems like they’re coming out earlier every year). This film is about a dysfunctional family (as most Christmas films are) trying to get together for Christmas (as most do) and things don’t quite go according to plan (as most go). What’s different about this one is that Charlotte and Sam Cooper’s (Keaton and Goodman) son Hank (Ed Helms) has a dysfunctional family of his own (Borstein, Timothée Chalamet, Maxwell Simkins, and Blake Baumgartner). Of course Charlotte and Sam are having marital problems and Hank and his wife Angie (Borstein) are divorced so there is a slight parallel here. So the main plot of the film consists of Charlotte and Sam getting ready for their Christmas Eve celebration while also following each Cooper family member as they make their way to the celebration. I will admit that it was kind of interesting following each of them around as we got to learn about each character. I will admit that some family members were more interesting than others but that opinion could have changed if they were followed a little more equally. The film chose to follow mostly Charlotte and Sam and their daughter Eleanor (Wilde). I found that I did not care as much about Sam and Charlotte’s story as I did about Eleanor (and that’s not saying much). It was really sad that considering the cast the had for this one that they wasted the remaining family members. I barely got to hear about Helm’s Hank and Charlotte’s sister Emma’s (Marisa Tomei) (which is weird since she is 19 years younger in real life and their characters are supposed to be 3 years apart) arc was not interesting at all since we never got to learn anything about her character. I also need to mention Anthony Mackie in a minor role where he did not get to do to much either. The only thing I found really funny was a running gag throughout the film about the fact that Nick’s teenage son Charlie (Chalamet) not knowing how to properly kiss. Like I said, it was funny despite being overdone. And despite even all of that, none of this stuff matters as much when the plot is full of holes yet predictable and drowning in cheese and cliche. I will however say that the acting wasn’t necessarily bad per se but I just don’t think the writing was very good. Overall, if you like the cast than this one might be worth a look but otherwise it’s just another predictable Christmas film.