Review: ‘Office Christmas Party’

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Office Christmas Party 
Director: Josh Gordon & Will Speck
Runtime:
105 min.
Rating:
R
Cast:
Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston

If the only way to save your company was to throw the wildest Christmas party of all time, would you do it? After watching the mayhem and destruction on display in Office Christmas Party, I would say no. But my wild side? Yes. Absolutely.

I remember the holiday season of 2015. The team behind one of my favorite films of the last few years (50/50) were teaming up again for a Christmas movie, The Night Before. I loved the cast and talent involved, the trailer was funny, but I was ultimately let down by a movie that felt too safe in the end. If you’re looking for a safe holiday-set comedy this year, steer clear of Office Christmas Party. This movie is everything I was hoping The Night Before would be, but wasn’t. This is a raucous, crude, silly, hilarious, and also heartwarming tale of debauchery and family. Oh, and also sex, drugs, and gangsters.

The material here is elevated by a pitch-perfect cast. Standouts include: T.J. Miller as the dim-witted boss with a heart of gold, Jason Bateman as the guy with all the real talent, Olivia Munn as the tech-wizard, Kate McKinnon as the HR rep who is way too uptight, Courtney B. Vance as the one to impress, and, in what I thought was a comedic highlight, Fortune Feimster as an Uber driver with attitude. This is just a sample of the great, huge cast who constantly push these jokes further with their acting. 

The story here is fine, but takes a back-seat to the wild party, so I won’t spoil anything here. The party met my expectations. It’s absolutely insane and looks like a ton of fun. Music, lights, dancing, drinking, reindeer drinking from toilets, spontaneous orgies… this party has it all. It’s a compliment to the screenwriters and production when I say that I would totally check out this party, but would probably be terrified the entire time. Good job.

Office Christmas Party is fun, but I wouldn’t say it’s sophisticated by any means. This is a typical studio comedy in 2016 in every way. The jokes are largely physical or are about sex and farts. I laughed hard at all of these things. Just don’t go in expecting anything particularly smart or witty. I don’t think audiences will have a problem with that, as the trailers have set the tone perfectly. The story is also predictable, but there is a comfort in that here during the holiday season. Sometimes it’s great to know what you’re getting because it feels good. Go in with the right expectations and Office Christmas Party will feel like delicious comfort food.

I liked this movie a lot. It’s the loud, often hilarious comedy I needed at the end of this confusing and stressful year. Go see it for a laugh. It’s worth it.

Rating: 3.5/5

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