Saturday, September 13, 2008

Cooper's Camera

Warren P. Sonoda | 2008 | 95 mins | Canada

This film is mostly funny because the actors (The Daily Show's Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, along with Mike Beaver, who also co-wrote the film with Jones and is the Canadian actor/writer behind Ham & Cheese). The script is funny, but it would have gotten stale at the 15 minute mark without these performances.

The premise of the film is that Bee and Jones are the Coopers, a married couple who get a video camera for Christmas in 1985 and proceed to film the entire day - what we're seeing is that footage, edited together over 20 years later. The 1985 look of the film was painstakingly detailed, from the VHS quality of the image to every outfit and hairstyle on screen.

Beaver is amazing as Uncle Nick, the party-guy who makes sex jokes in front of the kids and gets wasted by noon. His mustache, '80s mullet and Christmas sweater made him look very awkwardly familiar. I mean, my family moved to Canada in '88 from Europe, where Uncle Nicks don't exist, but I made friends here whose male relatives were exactly like this guy. The performance was eerily accurate.

Gord Cooper (Jones) gets the camera (a ludicrously expensive item on which he blew his wife's vacation fund) from Dave Foley, and there's a recurring joke about a sex tape that was left in the camera when the family started recording. You'll see more of Dave Foley's naked body in this film then you ever wanted to. Consider this fair warning, not a spoiler.

The film has some really funny and genuinely uncomfortable moments, but the video camera is a bit of a one-note gag, and after a while it devolves into such a frenzied level of dysfunctional family chaos that I couldn't decide whether I found it awesomely action packed or gimmicky and over the top.


aaron said...

while i have to admit that i found the style and frenzy a little tiring by the end of the movie, i really enjoyed this one. it has a lot of big laughs, and i definitely recognized my own uber-canadian uncles in nick's character.

Vintage To Go! said...

Is this movie currently playing or available somewhere?

aaron said...

Unfortunately it doesn't look like there is any release planned for this yet. The only official release date was the TIFF premiere. With the names attached and following the decent reception at the fest I expected this to at least come out on DVD this month It would be a real shame if this movie got lost in the shuffle. If anyone can tell me different about an eventual release, please do.

Porfle Popnecker said...

This movie is coming out on DVD from Anchor Bay under the title COOPERS' CHRISTMAS. I just reviewed it for HK and Cult Film News ( and found it to be pretty funny, with some real belly-laughs here and there.

aaron said...

About time! Thanks for the tip.