Despite the impressive cast, this is a thoroughly contrived and trite festive film. It could easily be swapped with any other that follows a group of well-off white Americans who overcome their various troubles and differences to have a nice Christmas together.

There’s the teens having their awkward first kiss, the older couple trying to rekindle their love, the single older lady finding happiness despite her loneliness, the even older dude trying to die happy, a single dad trying to please his kids, the unlikely new Republican-Democrat pairing falling for each other and so on.

To bring some diversity to the cast, there’s also a token person of colour who doubles as the token LGBTIQ representative, and a girl who says she’s Jewish at one point. Neither of them are allowed into the scene where the reunited family sits around the Christmas tree singing Christian songs together, of course, but at least they’re allowed to speak.

Love the Coopers starts off harmless enough, with a barrage of character introductions that are mildly interesting, accompanied by average jokes. Where it gets painful is when the drama starts being laid on thick and fast. There’s so many characters, each of their stories is raced through in shorthand, perhaps gambling on audience familiarity rather than quality storytelling. When we reach their bickering and dreary “what happened to us?” conversations, the narrative hasn’t developed actual pathos, so tries to force it with transparent stuff like having extras cry and a voiceover that’s as subtle as a sledgehammer.

The film’s predictable conclusion – about family being all you need or whatever – is particularly weakly delivered and unearned. It does feature a beautiful St Bernard-Australian shepherd mix named Rags, though, which is really cool.

‘Love the Coopers’ Movie Times

Perhaps You Should See: Love, Actually, It’s a Wonderful Life, Jingle All the Way