‘Tis the season to be jolly.
Or, at least, to giggle a little bit.
Office Christmas Party is the newest holiday fare with your typical wild party hi jinks. You’ve seen that before. This time, the wild party is being held at an office of a business desperately trying to stay afloat.
When his mean sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) threatens to close down the company, Clay (TJ Miller) and his co-worker Josh (Jason Bateman) try to grab a huge account and save the jobs of their employees by throwing a huge Christmas party. And, of course, things get out of hand.
This movie was okay, but not great. There were not too many really great laughs. The issue with that is there should have been. It relies on the old standby jokes of drug culture and sexual innuendo and most of them seem dull by comparison. The film wants to be lewd and over-the-top, but it does not feel that way.
That is a shame, because the cast of this film is extremely strong and indelibly likable. Jason Bateman, TJ Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn, Kate McKinnon, Rob Corddry, Courtney B. Vance, and Jillian Bell all appear here and are actors who are fun to watch and who I generally like. Unfortunately, most of them could have stronger characters to portray. Aniston is basically playing the same bad boss character that she has played several times. Bateman is playing Jason Bateman. And yet, there was just something about these people that made me not hate this film. I found myself rooting for them and that was surprising.
Yes, the story was very thin. and there were many ridiculous things that happened, but none of it felt obnoxious. It just was.
If this cast had a better story, this could have been a really surprising movie. There were moments of good work, and there was some possibility with the brother sister relationship between Miler and Aniston’s characters, but most of the really solid characters moments were buried beneath the excesses of indulgence that populated most of this movie. The office party was too much of the film and took it to levels that were just impossible to believe.
The biggest issue was there were just not enough really laugh out loud scenes. I did giggle a few times, and (maybe) even guffawed once. There was just not enough of that to justify the rest.
There were some fun secondary characters, including the security guard Carla (Da’Vine Joy Randolph) who had a fixation on Die Hard, the Uber driver Lonny (Fortune Feimster) who has some of the better dialogue in the film, and unappreciated assistant Allison (Vanessa Bayer) who attracts the wrong type of man. These were fun characters that helped the film, but there was just too many other moments that were not funny.
I liked watching this film, but I did not love it, and, with the ensemble of this film, that is a shame. It is worlds better than Bad Santa 2 (ironically, probably not as funny, though) so if you want a new Christmas movie for the year, this might be your best bet.