“Love the Coopers” is one of those mainstream holiday movies that you watch with vague annoyance throughout, groaning and rolling your eyes at a number of silly developments and relentlessly mawkish sentiment, but once it’s over, you realize you kind of enjoyed yourself. Maybe it’s the deliriously charming chemistry between Olivia Wilde and Jake Lacy, which manages to elevate their vignettes far above the predictable conventions of their rote, opposites-attract airport romance. Maybe it’s also the warmly tentative chemistry between Marisa Tomei and Anthony Mackie, who strike up a fleeting, awkward friendship in uncomfortable circumstances and end up being all the better for it. I’m not sure: All I know is that whenever the narrative returned to either of those pairs, I found myself getting lost in their interactions without fail like I was reconnecting with old friends picking up right where we left off. Those moments helped me forget the icky intimacy between Alan Arkin’s narcissistic curmudgeon and emotionally needy waitress Amanda Seyfried, who is also saddled with an uncomfortable romance with Ed Helms that’s laughably implausible as well as dead-on-arrival from a narrative perspective. So, it’s got its moments that make it worth a watch, but adjust your expectations and you might just enjoy yourself overall.
Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)