Release Date: December 9, 2016
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writer: Justin Malen, Laura Solon, Dan Mazer, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Timothy Dowling
Cast: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Courtney B. Vance, Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Karan Soni, Jamie Chung, Abbey Lee, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Andrew Leeds, Oliver Cooper, Chloe Wepper, Matt Walsh, Ben Falcone, Adrian Martinez, Fortune Feimster, Erick Chavarria, Jimmy Butler, Nick Peine, Michael Tourek
MPAA Rating: R
Runtime: 105 minutes
Production Company: FROSCH Entertainment, Bluegrass Films, DreamWorks, Paramount Pictures, Reliance Entertainment
What a way to try and cash in on the holiday movie season. That’s all Paramount Pictures tried to do with their version of an Office Christmas Party. Someone close to me had doubts from the trailers suggesting the cast would be richer than the overall impact of the film. They were right to an extent, because the cast didn’t do much either. What type of office worker are you, if any? Are you the kind that lurks around in mystery, obsessed in curiosity about your co-workers’ lives outside of the workplace, or the one that couldn’t care any less, does their job, and goes home? This party caters to the former in the most generic of ways; not providing anything fresh, is mediocre fun, and is a copycat of every crazy party film that came before.
While that introduction may have turned you away, if you’re still here it isn’t all bad. There are a few laughs that come and go, and they land quite strong at times. Some of the recurring jokes between the officemates pretending they’re cancelling a session of fun, but using hand gestures to secretly promote it was a good source of comedy. Another gesture would be the super stereotypical HR ninja that walks around like the police. However, the rest of the typical characters you find in an office didn’t work as well, so there wasn’t much to laugh at. Other jokes you could see coming a mile away, while the rest would be mentioned only to be glossed over later. Not only were the jokes not funny enough, the extra mayhem that was promised was mentioned but never showed up.
Worthy characters of their respected roles never showed up either. The two main leads, Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller, were adequate, but when paired with others like Jennifer Aniston it felt like watching an adult daycare. Seeing Miller and Aniston on screen together as siblings fighting over control of a company was a miserable failure. Plus, with Aniston’s role being one of a dictating monster, her being attractive while trying to impersonate a horrible boss was another mistake. You don’t cast arguably one of the more attractive women in Hollywood (considered by some) as a villain no one is supposed to like. Even with this being a comedy, the situation they were in was ridiculous. Everything else was a bland attempt at a party that never raised the volume past 10.
To top it all off, you have a story condensed to an office Christmas party that’s struggling to reach the end. The film even gave up on itself, running out of budget to fulfill a daring feat it promised towards the beginning. It was so anti-climactic. Seriously, instead of the writers taking their time and polishing the ending, one character decides to get drunk and rush his car down city streets for twenty minutes solely because the film is out of material. I’ve never seen a party with so much booze, drugs, and women be this disappointing.
If you were invited to this party, but didn’t go, you’re in luck. Your IQ level is safe. In all honesty you’d probably have more fun at jury duty. It was hilarious, in a bad way, to see a group of goons try to party like they missed every night out in high school. They had all the material, but lacked the mojo to really hype it all up. There was nothing daring, bold, or that took it to the next level of partying. It just felt like I’ve seen it all before. If they party again next year hopefully it’ll be a better turnout.