Unconventional Christmas Movies: Coopers’ Camera (2008) Review

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Christmas is a time to watch all the classic movies, from Home Alone to It’s a Wonderful Life. This year, Views from the Sofa is taking a more unconventional look at Christmas with five movies which may not exactly spread the traditional Christmas message. First up, a family comedy set in 1985…

There are moments where you can really relate to the Cooper’s Camera and other times when you find yourself disgusted, confused but always entertained. In the traditional fashion of comedies set at Christmas, Coopers’ Camera is a movie where Christmas “goes wrong” and the events of a typical family Christmas spiral out of one control.

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The film captures the early moments on Christmas day well

So far, so National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, except Coopers’ Camera takes the unusual but very clever approach of being ” found footage.” The family receive a new camera for Christmas and the events of this bizarre Christmas day are captured for everyone’s enjoyment.

This begins with the opening of presents in the morning. The presents are so bizarre and the reactions so good that the movie starts on a strong and very funny footing. Watching people opening disappointing presents is a YouTube channel all to itself and here it is ramped up to 11 with the kids getting “substitute” gifts for the ones they really wanted (but the family couldn’t afford).

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Jason Jones is fantastic

The next step is the usual extended family coming for dinner. This is filled with jokes and clever observations, as each family member hits a usual stereotype, from unexpected boyfriend, drunken Uncle and long lost brother. There are so many different, subtle jokes hidden within the movie that each watch will reveal something new, like how the Dad of the family, Gord, tries his best to greet each new family member with a Christmas song he doesn’t know the words to.

In fact, one of the best aspects of the whole movie is Jason Jones’ Gord Cooper. He is modeled in the fashion of a Dad trying to give his family a great Christmas while watching everything around him fall apart. He gets some great one-liners, very embarrassing moments and the actor does well to throw himself into the movie wholeheartedly.

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Beaver and Jones write and star

That goes for a lot of the cast but especially Mike Beaver, who is the drunken Uncle mentioned before and as a co-writer of the movie with Jones, gives himself some ridiculous dialogue and even more ridiculous situations.

This is where Coopers’ Camera shines. What starts off as a slightly dysfunctional Christmas slowly spirals out of control, in ever increasing and hilarious ways. The moments become more extravagant and give way to more memorable scenes and very quotable lines. Your usual Christmas movie this is not.

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Not your usual Christmas movie

Which is also one of the only major drawbacks. It won’t be for everyone and at times it goes slightly too close to the edge. Random sex scenes (explained when you discover where the camera originally came from), some questionable choices between cousins and some of the cruder or more bizarre jokes don’t all hit their mark while one scene involving an attempted suicide (not as dark it sounds) will offend some.

If you can overlook this, you will find a Christmas comedy gem. If you are someone who can’t stand the more traditional, loving and cheesy fare at Christmas, this will do nicely and for others, they may recognise more of their family’s Christmas than they’d like to admit.

Overall, Coopers’ Camera is a great, non-traditional Christmas movie. It is a strange, found footage comedy which has some great observations on the usual family Christmas. It does snowball and get out of hand, like you’d expect from a Christmas comedy, but will keep you entertained throughout.

Rating – 4

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

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A lesser-known Christmas gem


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