Christmas Office Party (15) is this season’s festive comedy, starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, T.J. Miller and Olivia Munn. With an A-list star cast and well-respected directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon (think Blades of Glory) in charge of the party, I was expecting big laughs with a little debauchery on the side.
“just a little get together for the employees, have a few drinks blow off some steam…nothing crazy” – josh
The plot goes something like this. The CEO of the company Carol (Aniston) arrives, casting a more sinister and scary shadow over the company than Miranda Priestly in Devil Wears Prada. Already a huge fan of Aniston in Horrible Bosses, she doesn’t disappoint in this role. Cancelling all company bonuses, threatening to lay off 40% of their staff, she also does the unforgivable…she cancels their Christmas party.
Heated discussions between CEO Carol (Aniston) and the charming but childlike Branch President Clay (TJ Miller) soon erupts into a brother-sister fight, which she eventually wins. Aniston is fierce and their feud permeates the film. Aniston issues an ultimatum: that if they don’t secure a deal before the financial quarter closes, she will close them down.
Chief technical officer Josh (Jason Bateman) is just an ordinary guy, trying to get through the festive season as a new divorcee, avoiding any upset at all cost. Clay and Josh decide they must throw the party of all parties to impress a potential client to win a £14 million contract to save all of their jobs. No pressure there then. So as all comedies go, they must save Christmas. Just in this case, with more tequila, vodka, sex and drugs thrown into the mix.
“Shoot for the moon and land on the sun” – clay
The party only really gets going when their prospective client Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) inhales a bag of cocaine – accidentally – of course.
HR’s regulatory omnipresence represented here by Mary, perfectly reminds us that this is above all a party for work colleagues. When she joins in the fun, you know that rules will be broken.
A cocktail of group sex (ok, we got the dig about the marketing girls being sluts – thanks), pimps, drugs, run-of-the-mill bums on the photocopier and heavy items thrown out the window (so rock’n’roll) make up the ingredients for the party.
“Let’s light this fuckin’ candle”
Going to the Christmas Office Party?
What is set up to be the party of all parties proved to be a bit of an anticlimax?
Don’t get me wrong. The filming is fantastic. Voyeuristically watching the party fill up two floors from the outside of the office building, makes you feel you are missing one of the greatest parties of all time. Bacchus would have been proud how quickly it descended into chaos and the lewd behaviour.
However, you couldn’t help but feel you have seen it all before. The nudity and sex seemed gratuitous and contrived, acting as a filler to depict how ‘shocking’ the party was. Just like lots of Christmas parties, there was a high expectation and yet if felt a bit of a let-down. There felt nothing original in the comedy sketches.
Most of the office characters rely on stereotypes in the film. Nate, the geek who can’t get a girl (Karan Soni), so pays a hooker to accompany him to the Christmas party. The toxic office employee who is here represented by customer services (Jeremy Rob Corddry). Mary (Kate McKinnon) a stickler for rules acting as HR but for some bizarre reason farts under pressure. Oh yeah, and the boss is a fool and his father owned the company (T.J.Miller). Tracey (Olivia Munn) is the gorgeous, nerdy girl who saves the day and falls for the unavailable guy, who realises what he has missed out on. It really doesn’t happen like that in real life girls. The usual stereotypes. Most of the time we don’t actually care whether they end up with each other. It’s purely a waiting game as we just want to wind the party up to go home.
The stars in this film carry you through the weaker parts of the film but are fantastically funny in parts. Aniston busts some killer moves. There are many LOLs as well as some cringe moments ones too, but if you want to have some fun at the cinema this Christmas, then this is the party you don’t want to miss!