Directors: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writers: Justin Malen (screenplay), Laura Solon (screenplay)
Stars: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Courtney B. Vance
Plot: When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his branch, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand
Running time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics 41% Audience 41%
Why I watched it: From time to time I break up my routine by watching a comedy, now I’m very picky with comedies, I love to laugh and I think I have a good sense of humour but most comedies leave me cold, now this one I liked the cast so I gave it a try.
Random thoughts: Off the top of your head how many movies have Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston been in together, I count 4, that’s a lot.
What I liked: This is a likeable cast, I will say so many comedies have an abrasive cast or the tone is mean spirited at least Office Christmas Party was pleasant for the most part. There’s a lot of funny people in this film, maybe too many cause there’s not enough screen time to go around but I have to give them credit almost everyone gets a moment. Two actors stand out for me Kate McKinnon steals the movie, she’s different her vibe is a bit off but she has amazing timing and she can pull off some weird characters and her she’s a side character but she’s really the only one in the cast to take what is a one-dimensional character and flesh out more. She was a hoot.
Also Courtney B Vance, he’s not known for his comedy but he under plays for the first half then let’s it loose and he has some nice moments. The tone is good, like I said it’s not a mean comedy, there’s a conflict but it’s got a good message about treating your coworkers and employees like family, about caring for them and trying to make Christmas special, nothing wrong with that. Also think that the cast had an easy chemistry with each other and it did feel like these people worked together, Bateman and Munn being the glue to hold the office together and Miller being the well meaning but goofy boss.
What I didn’t like: The Christmas theme is lost here, honestly it could have been just an office party, sure Miller dresses up as Santa but this didn’t feel like a Christmas movie, it’s a comedy but not something anyone would watch every year at Christmas. I like Jason Bateman, I think he’s very under used just go watch The Gift to see his range but man he’s typecast playing the same guy in these comedies, he’s the nice but bland voice of reason and here he doesn’t even get to be funny and his relationship with Munn doesn’t really work cause they have no meaningful screen time together. This is the main problem of the story they throw too much in, too many side characters and sub-plots and they don’t have the time to really flesh everything out.
Aniston is playing the comedy villain cliche and I mean right down the line she’s so a cliche. I would say they could have cut at least four characters and spread out the time to everyone else to make this a tighter and funnier film. The ending is a head shaker, really they have to rally to save the company and how they do it is just silly and not very believable. Also one thing I’m realising with the comedies coming out now, we have this loose improve thing going, and you see it when they show the bloopers, just riffing on a scene and you realise that there’s not so much a script but an outline and I think that’s why these comedies come out uneven cause some stuff works and some seems out of place or just doesn’t fit the tone.
Final thoughts: Honestly I didn’t dislike the film, I didn’t love it and I thought it didn’t work completely but I did smile and I laughed a couple of times and there was effort here so it’s not a bad film just not great or even really good but it’s watchable and it did have it’s moments.