Christmas parties have their highs and their lows. If you’re lucky it means leaving work early, free alcohol and an excuse to show co-workers what you’re hiding under that baggy work appropriate office wear. On the other hand it could mean dodging decisions that you’ll regret the next day and a wealth of social anxiety… This office Christmas party… well let’s just say it’ll make all your worries seem insignificant.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you work for the Chicago Branch of Zenotek. If you do then this year sucks. Hurricane Carol, the CEO of Zenotek (Jennifer Aniston) is in town and she’s causing chaos. Not only does she cancel the office Christmas party, but Carol has also decided to cut bonus’ and 40% of the staff overnight.
That is unless branch manager and Carol’s baby brother Clay (T.J. Miller) can close financier Walter Davies (Courtney B. Vance) and his $14million in the next 24hours.
Clay isn’t the sharpest pencil in the box so he brings along his Chef Technical Officer Josh (Jason Bateman) and head of Tech Tracey (Olivia Munn) to the meet.
When things go south they devise a grand plan; Invite Walter to the ultimate Christmas party where he’ll have such a good time he’ll be begging to join the Zenotek team.
I have to say – the storyline was actually pretty good. I make a note of this because it’s normally a loosely tied together throw away when to comes to comedy films, but in this case it flowed organically.
Olivia Munn (because she always deserves her own special mention). Munn tends to play that freakishly smart and independent woman, which is slyly becoming her cast type. The problem is that she does it so well – and it works because she is good-looking and smart, they haven’t tried to dampen the former to accentuate the latter – women can be both.
Another nod to how they played their role goes to Jennifer Aniston. When she plays the swearing non caring woman in charge it feels true to form. I’m not trying to hint that she’s a horrible person in real life, instead I’m saying that it seems as though Aniston is playing a caricature of herself. And when you play yourself you tend to play it better than any of your other roles (insert Adam Sandler here). Like Gere and Roberts, and Lawrence and Cooper, Aniston and Bateman are another duo that play well off of each other on camera and help draw in the audience.
I enjoyed the amount of attention that was given to the background and side characters. Everyone had their own issues that would make for a great post party story, but if you looked just off to the left or right of their scene you would spot some pretty weird stuff happening in the background which added to the humour and stereotype of drunk people.
One person who I think could have gotten more screen time was the Security Guard. They built her up in the opening, so much so that I kept expecting her to have her own solid strand – but it never happened which was severely disappointing. I wonder if somewhere there is a tonne of deleted scenes dedicated to her and her love of Die Hard.
The amount of laws that were broken in this movie, and that ultimately went without check in this fictional world, sent off a number of alarm bells from a literal thinking point of view. Office Christmas Party was funny…. but I’ve seen funnier. Ghostbusters is the first thing that come to mind in that respect, but that’s likely because of the McKinnon connection. Digging a little deeper, although the film was based on a story by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore – writers of the Hangover Part I-III and Bad Moms – the screenplay was written by two people who don’t have a lot of experience writing comedy. I’m not saying there weren’t some gems in there, but mostly be prepared for a lot of cheap laughs.