With every holiday season comes the inevitable release of a new Christmas comedy, last year’s being The Night Before. This year’s movie, Office Christmas Party, shows a family business run by sibling rivals after the founding father dies. The movie is successfully funny and the cast is star-studded, but the sheer amount of clichés made it clear plot and character development were not top priorities.
Tis the season and wild, younger brother Clay (T.J. Miller) wants to keep up his father’s fun, but frivolous traditions after his death, such as the annual office Christmas Party. The only person that stands in his way is newly appointed CEO and uptight older sister, Carol (Jennifer Aniston). Not only does she forbid the idea of a party, but also threaten termination of his department on the condition that he makes an impossible quota within two days.
Coincidentally, Clay and his best friend Josh (Jason Bateman) are scheduled to meet with business owner Walter Davis on a multi-million dollar deal that very night. While Davis (Courtney B. Vance) is stubborn, they discover he values a company with heart and decide to invite him to the office Christmas party in hopes of convincing him to invest, thus saving the company. Wow movie magic miracles!
The movie succeeds in providing a feel-good Christmas spirit, and more importantly provides the crude and gritty joy of watching people get down right f*cked up. From water coolers of tequila, to swinging on Christmas lights, outrageous party scenes bring the satisfaction of chaos and while Mary from HR (Kate McKinnon) tried to keep people tame at first, her wild side couldn’t keep quiet for long.
There’s not much to say about Kate McKinnon: She’s funny in most things she does and there can never be enough time for her on screen. But only giving her 20 lines in this movie does seem silly. Jason Bateman was his typical awkward Jason Bateman self and T.J. Miller was entertaining, but there were other actors who deserved more screen time, one being the sister Carol. Jennifer Aniston does a wonderful job of being purely bitter but without much opportunity to redeem her, it was hard not to walk away still disliking her character, which seemed out of place for the movie’s happy ending.
The last critique is on Josh and coworker Tracey’s (Olivia Munn) relationship and it will be as brief as their romantic development in the film. If there isn’t enough time to make a viewer care about a couple, is there a reason to create one? Olivia Munn’s character seemed fun and smart, but limited to the confines of an unnecessary love interest
and an ex machina that will not be discussed any further to avoid spoilers.
The movie may not have been perfect, but it was most certainly enjoyable enough to watch again, both as a wild party comedy and as a sweet Christmas movie. The moral of upholding tradition with loved ones is appropriately sweet for the sickly sentimental nature of the holidays, while the obscene amount of legal and illegal substances provides plenty of great ideas for next years holiday party.