Office Christmas Party review
Now that we’re in the middle of December, we are getting into the busier period of holiday parties. We have our family parties, friends parties, and even the parties that happen at shopping malls that you probably see for the Christmas-like atmosphere. But I’m pretty sure that everyone has had experience with at least one office Christmas party of some sort. It might be just a plate of cupcakes your boss brought in, or perhaps they sprang for something bigger and had an actual party with music and holiday cheer. The last holiday office party I had even went as far to get Santa to make an appearance.
These parties have a different tone as unlike your fathers Christmas Eve where you at least know your family enough to make for some good conversation, the office is likely to have a no filter rule as the people at the office are unlikely to have a level of intrusion that keeps the family in a safe space. Regardless of where the office parties go, I always tend to find at least one thing fun about them (they tend to be the store bought sugar cookies that are a guilty pleasure). Let’s see if this Office Christmas Party can become a Christmas tradition.
Chief Technical Officer Josh Parker (played by Jason Bateman) works for a computer company whose position at the Chicago branch is at risk. The companies CEO Carol Vanstone (played by Jennifer Aniston) is threatening to cut the majority of the staff and shutting down this particular office if they can’t match a large client before the end of the holiday season. Her brother and branch manager Clay (played by T.J. Miller) really wants to keep his staff happy and wants to continue his fathers tradition of a wild office Christmas party, despite being told no party this year.
Josh and Clay figure that if they can acquire a contract with financial giant Walter Davis (played by Courtney B. Vance), that would be enough to keep their jobs. While they make sure they can be pleased, the rest of the office is trying their hardest to make sure the party goes down as a hoot including head of human resources Mary (played by Kate McKinnon), dweeb Nate (played by Karan Soni), Clay’s assistant Allison (played by Vanessa Bayer), and customer service supervisor Jeremy (played by Rob Corddry). The party is filled with music, drugs, pimps, and car chases.
Office Christmas Party is clearly trying to be within the same “naughty” Christmas film genre like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation or Bad Santa. To it’s credit, a movie centered around this is an pretty good idea. There are a lot of shenanigans that are over the top and even a couple of funny moments from the cast. So where do things go wrong? It’s unfortunately the cast. It’s not that they don’t have funny players, but for a comedy centered around an office, you expect more of a dysfunctional family.
Had this used the cast of say Parks & Recreation or The Office, I could see either of those crews working better with this material as those comedians were almost accidentally set up perfectly. Office Christmas Party feels like it’s workers were selected by committee. Perhaps they could have had them hang for a bit before rehearsal? It’s a shame because actors like T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, and Courtney B. Vance really shined through a lot of the hijinks while Jason Bateman and Rob Corddry are given little to work with. This is the kind of Christmas movie that I think will play fine as a background comedy and maybe some people will find some more joy then I did.
I’ll give this three strands of garland out of five. Office Christmas Party may have some funny hijinks, bit without a fully connected cast, it’s not feeling as homely as it wants to be. Take what you can gather from the previews and consider what your looking for. Will you like this? It’s hard to tell, so I’d say wait till next Christmas to rent it and find out if this is a party worth crashing.