‘Office Christmas Party’ glides by on charms of its comedic talent (review)


Much as the title implies, what you see is what you get with Office Christmas Party. This film, starring Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, and T.J. Miller covers that time honored tradition of Corporate America. The one day a year where you can get drunk with coworkers in the office, exchange Secret Santa gifts, and generally say and do things that you’ll probably regret well into the next year. And although there isn’t much new ground broken in Office Christmas Party, the magnetic charisma of its leads does just enough to turn a standard fare “adult” holiday comedy into something worthwhile.

Office Christmas Party is set at a Zenotek, a family-run Chicago branch of a company, headed by the founder’s lackadaisical son, Clay (Miller). His older sister and company CEO (Jennifer Aniston) comes into town to deliver some bad news. First, that she is shutting down their branch. And second, their annual holiday party is (gasp) cancelled! The fate of the branch rests in the hands of a Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), a potential client that Clay and team needs to land in order to save them.

Among Clay’s gang of misfits are chief technical officer Josh (Bateman), Mary from HR (Kate McKinnon) and IT nerd Tracey (Munn). After botching an initial meeting to land Davis, the group decides to make a last ditch attempt to win his business by (and somehow this was supposed to make perfect sense) throwing the ultimate office Christmas party.

With an absolutely loaded comedic cast, it’s hard not to see this movie landing at least a few great comedic moments. And to be sure, there are more than a few laughs to be had in the film. Aniston plays the Scrooge-ish CEO with aplomb, and every scene McKinnon is in shines. Miller channels his inner oaf to play Clay, and his performance is nothing we haven’t seen from him before. Of course, if you’re a fan of Miller (which I most certainly am), the comedic sensibilities he brings to the proceedings are always welcome. However, the movie does take its sweet time getting to the good stuff, with a somewhat meandering and slow introduction that spends too much time on setup, and not enough time on the part we all came to see (the party!).

Office Christmas Party ends up being a credible addition to the R-rated comedy genre that gets laughs from a mixture of raunch and wordplay. And although it likely won’t stand the test of time compared to the truly legendary comedies it cribs from, it is more than sufficient for a holiday diversion.

Rating: 3.5/5 Atoms

NR 3_5 Atoms - B-

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