Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller and Olivia Munn must stand up to corporate boss Jennifer Aniston is this appealing festive film from directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
It’s doubtful Office Christmas Party will become your new favourite festive film, but it’ll provide a few yuletide chuckles. From the team that brought us enjoyable if forgettable comedies Blades of Glory and The Switch, fans of the aforementioned films will know what to expect from the director team of Josh Gordon and Will Speck. Those not accustomed to the filmmakers’ sense of humour should prepare themselves for fruity language, cartoonish set-pieces and a preference for skit over plot. The pacing here is about gag regularity rather than dramatic progression.
Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston, fresh from starring in Gordon and Speck’s previous film The Switch, are back as a senior manager and CEO respectively of a Chicago tech firm. Along with branch manager and Aniston’s brother Clay (T. J. Miller), Bateman must battle the cutthroat boss who’s eager to close the business. Whizz Tracey Hughes (Olivia Munn) joins them to hatch a plan to organise an outrageous Christmas party in order to show their fun side to a financial giant (Courtney B. Vance) whose potential investment could save the firm from closure.
As you’d expect, things quickly get out of hand. Office Christmas Party won’t win over audiences with its character development nor its silly, sibling rivalry premise. But it made me laugh. And sometimes that’s all you really want from a comedy. Its crude humour (which sees naughty buttock printing go to another level) won’t work for everyone while a plot that meanders through various phases including corporate salvation, kidnapping, and even saving the city, Marvel-style, from meltdown, will disappoint those willingly acknowledging its unevenness.
But if, like me, you miss two minutes of the film courtesy of a laughter outburst after Kate McKinnon’s HR Manager reveals she filed a sexual misconduct charge against herself, you’ll be won over by Gordon and Speck’s effort. Indeed, it’s the little individual character subplots that delight.
McKinnon’s obsessive approach to her job including a multi-denominational festive jumper and adoration for her Kia (“…it’s what God would drive…”. There’s single-mom Allison (Vanessa Bayer) and her unintentional romantic pursuit of a new employee with a mother-child fetish (“…Something’s happening in my diaper…”). And nice guy Nate (Karan Soni) whose desperate attempts to impress his co-workers results in hiring an escort as his girlfriend only for said working girl to offer her services to all and sundry.
Office Christmas Party’s scattershot humour means enough boozy jokes are thrown in our direction that if one doesn’t raise a smile the next one probably will. With a bunch of likable performances, especially Olivia Munn who can’t fail to draw a few laughs with her dance floor routine in a sumo wrestler costume, and Kate McKinnon who gets some of the film’s best lines, Gordon and Speck’s festive fun undoubtedly rubs off.
Written by Dan Stephens
Directed by: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Written by: Justin Malen, Laura Solon, Dan Mazer
Starring: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T. J. Miller, Vanessa Bayer, Courtney B. Vance, Rob Corddry, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston
Released: 2016 / Genre: Comedy
Country: USA / IMDB
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Top 10 Films reviewed Office Christmas Party on Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One. The film is released on Digital Nov 6 and on DVD/Blu-ray November 13.