As pretty much everyone is back at work and school as of this week, there is probably some intense yearning for the holidays happening right now. If you’re an adult in that mindset, and keen for some light-hearted movie escapism, you can still catch Office Christmas Party at cinemas across the country.
Office Christmas Party puts a festive slant on a relatively niche sub-genre: the R-rated, out-of-control party comedy. Think Project X and Sisters in recent years. Actually, if you’ve seen Sisters – that Tiny Fey and Amy Poehler team-up – your response to that one will probably determine how much you enjoy Office Christmas Party. Both movies combine crude humour and attempts at heart. They also both feature casts stuffed with recognised comedic talent.
The premise for Office Christmas Party has the staff of a data storage company trying to stop the closure of their branch by their Scrooge CEO (Jennifer Aniston). To save their jobs, this band of oddballs has to win the business of Courtney B. Vance’s old school client. As he believes in corporate camaraderie, the branch bosses stage the wildest Christmas party the company has ever known. Unsurprisingly, things quickly spiral out of control. Meanwhile, it’s primarily up to “straight men” Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn to drive the plot as they navigate the chaos.
Office Christmas Party is, like most comedies, very hit-and-miss. It also loses a lot of momentum in its final third, as sentimentality wins out. These failings aside, though, the film is still fun. It’s 105 minutes of naughty diversion.
Office Christmas Party staggers over the finishing line, but it makes it thanks to the talented cast propping it up. Pretty much everyone has a moment to shine, but special shout-outs go to cinema’s quirky queen Kate McKinnon as an anally retentive HR manager, Randall Park playing a nice guy accountant with an unusual fetish, and Jillian Bell’s unhinged lady pimp.
Office Christmas Party may be predictable, but it delivers on its promise of comedy entertainment for adults who want a break from the real world’s uncertainties and responsibilities. It’s enjoyable anarchy, and there are enough laugh-out-loud moments to make it worthwhile. Just.