A movie called Office Christmas Party doesn’t have to accomplish a whole lot. It has to, at a base level, feature a party…preferably in an office. If it can clear that incredibly high bar it should probably be funny, or at the very least amusing. Office Christmas Party accomplishes one of those things. The point is, to even be a passable comedy that gets a decent annual run on TNT it doesn’t have to accomplish a lot.
The Night Before was a perfect example of this. A Seth Rogen Christmas comedy that knew exactly what powers it must harness to embrace the holiday spirit while fueling it with drugs and the occasional full frontal nudity. That movie does precisely what OCP cannot. Rogen’s brand may fain laziness but it’s anything but, often using the trappings of stoner comedy to tell poignant stories of friendship. Office Christmas Party just sort of settles for dick jokes. And anyone who knows me knows I’m not above that but if your movie is going to 3D print a dick…then have some FUN with it at least!
OCP has a perfectly acceptable setup. Jason Batemen (character names REALLY don’t matter here.) is the CTO of a tech company in Chicago. He works for CEO TJ Miller, whose father gifted him the Chicago branch of his company when he passed. They are both under intense pressure to lay off workers by the evil CEO and Miller’s sister Jennifer Aniston, unless they sign a big client represented by Courtney B Vance. Their only option? The biggest holiday party this world has ever seen. Soon their office is decked out with tinsel, actual living reindeer and plenty of holiday cheer.
Like the Tina Fey/Amy Poehler vehicle Sisters one can get plenty of mileage out of a character driven, middle-aged party movie. But OCP is so sloppy in its execution that it never gains any momentum. Often the scripted elements are so dull that the formidable ensemble is forced to riff – which admittedly leads to some of the funnier moments but stunts any development or basic character work.
With a cast consisting of Kate McKinnon, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn, TJ Miller, Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Courtney B. Vance and so many others would at the very least be fun. Instead it’s more like stale eggnog…lumpy, beige and unappetizing.
Office Christmas Party Opens in Theaters Everywhere Tomorrow