Posts Tagged ‘ed helms’

Diane Keaton, John Godoman

Diane Keaton,  farting dog, John Goodman

“LOVE THE COOPERS”  My rating: D+ (Opens wide on Nov. 13)

97 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

In “Love the Coopers” the dysfunctional family holiday movie gets big-name treatment. The results are exceedingly unlovely.

It’s not just that director Jessie Nelson’s Christmas-themed comedy tries to shock us with raunch and cynicism before going all squishy soft in the last reel.  Lots of pretty decent films (“Bad Santa,” “Home for the Holidays,” “The Family Stone”) have assumed the same trajectory.

It’s that Steven Rogers’ screenplay is so blatantly unfeeling, cobbling together standard-issue ideas and characters for a sort of Pavlovian-inspired emotional release.

“Love the Coopers” (the title invokes memories of the inexplicably beloved “Love, Actually,” and like that earlier film gives us several interlocking stories) takes place mostly in a picturesque suburb outside Pittsburgh PA.  Here quaint homes, a steady snowfall and lush woodlands evoke a Norman Rockwell atmosphere.

Emotionally, though, there is no peace in the valley.

For starters, after 40-some years of marriage Sam and Charlotte Cooper (John Goodman, Diane Keaton) are calling it quits. They will break the news to their assembled clan after “one last perfect Christmas.”

Happy holidays, everybody.

Several plots eventually meet around the Coopers’ dinner table.

Daughter Eleanor Cooper (Olivia Wilde) is so reluctant to see the rest of her family  that she settles into the airport bar for some fortification. There she meets Joe (Jake Lacy), a soldier on leave who is charming despite being a Republican.

In an agonizing montage Eleanor and soldier boy engage in a comic ballet on an airport moving sidewalk. It is so gosh-awful “cute” theaters should lay in a supply of insulin.


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Jason Segel and Ed Helms

“JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME”  My rating: B+ (Opens wide on March 16)

83 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Jeff (Jason Segel) is a thirtysomething slacker who lives in his mom’s basement and obsesses over the M. Night Shyamalan movie “Signs.”

You know…that’s the one where Mel Gibson’s family is besieged in their farmhouse by space aliens? And they discover that little, inconsequential things they almost overlooked were in fact cosmic signs of how to beat the invasion?

Jeff acknowledges that “Signs” can seem meandering and unfocused, but now that he’s watched it a couple dozen times he finds tremendous comfort knowing that in the end it comes together in “one perfect moment.”

Jeff’s opening monologue in “Jeff Who Lives at Home” seems a mere toss-off, the idiotic ramblings of a navel-gazing stoner who hasn’t had a girlfriend since high school.

But remember Jeff’s words. They’ll come back to us in yet another perfect moment.

“Jeff Who Lives at Home” is a pleasantly meandering effort from the writing/directing Duplass Brothers.  It’s funny and goofy.

It also exhibits more genuine soul than any comedy since…well, since Bill Forsythe’s sublime “Local Hero” back in 1983.


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102 minutes | Rating: R

In comedy funny trumps everything else.

“The Hangover Part II” isn’t smarter than, say, “Bridesmaids.” And it has little of the emotional heft of a truly great comedy like “Local Hero” or “Groundhog Day.”

But it’s still about the funniest thing to hit the screen in a long while — providing you’ve got a high threshold for raunchy outrageousness.

You can’t accuse its makers of messing around too much with a successful format. Despite a change of locale — sinful Bangkok takes the role previously played by sinful Las Vegas — this sequel is a recycling of characters and incidents from the first film. That might be a liability if it wasn’t so damn hilarious.


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