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Review: Office Christmas Party

Office Christmas Party
12.08.2016
6 10

PLOT: The boss (T.J. Miller) and CTO (Jason Bateman) of a tech company on the verge of closing, throw a wild Christmas party in the hopes of impressing a hot-shot exec (Courtney B. Vance) who think their corporate culture stinks.

REVIEW: 2016 has been a brutal year for big screen comedies. Have there been any that have been really worthwhile? The only ones that have worked have been genre hybrids like THE NICE GUYS and DEADPOOL, and while you could call HUNT OF THE WILDERPEOPLE a comedy, that’s still reaching a bit. The only consistently funny movie has probably been SAUSAGE PARTY, but one in twelve months is pretty dire. All that said, I went into OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY with high hopes based on the raunchy rating and cast.

In the end, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY was just “ok” but given how bad the other comedies have been, that’s almost good enough. A totally unexceptional romp that suffers from the common maladies that have recently been plaguing studio comedies (i.e: it’s too long, they mistake loud for funny) it at the very least has a couple of solid laughs, thanks mostly to the cast, all of whom, for better or worse, are cast exactly to type.

Jason Bateman plays his usual “straight man” role to perfection. While he rarely ever gets the chance to land any laughs on his own, Bateman keeps getting cast in the parts because he plays them well, although one can’t help but suspect he’s getting bored with playing the same role over and over. Olivia Munn is his love interest, and, like him, is tasked with playing one of the “normal” people, a thankless part in a zany movie like this. Bateman’s frequent co-star, Jennifer Aniston plays a familiar part as well, as the humorless CEO bent on shutting down this “party” branch unless they turn a heftier profit. Meanwhile, T.J. Miller, yet again, plays the lovable goofball, here as Aniston’s brother, who inherited this branch of the business and has been running it into the ground with his free-spending ways.

It’s probably pros Kate McKinnon and Rob Corddry who eke out the most laughs. McKinnon pretty much repurposes her Hilary Clinton impersonation, turning her into the strict but (surprise) lovable head of HR, while Corddry is amusing as the office’s angriest guy, who also – natch – is the head of customer service. Of everyone, Courtney B. Vance, cast against type in party mode, is the funniest as the buttoned-down company man who, after a huge blast of cocaine (thanks to stash being dumped into a snow machine aimed at his face) becomes an unstoppable wild man. Vance is hilarious, and sure enough, once he’s written out the film all but grinds to a halt, with the plot heavy finale completely running out of gas.

As uninspired as this all is, I can’t help but give OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY a mild recommendation, as I actually laughed a couple of times. That may not seems like much of a reason to “go fresh” on RT, but even if I only chuckled here and there, that’s more than I did in something like BAD SANTA 2 or one upcoming big studio comedy I can’t actually talk about yet. So, if you’re desperate for a holiday chuckle, go ahead and buy a ticket. It certainly won’t be the worst movie you’ve seen this year and you’ll laugh a few times. Good enough?

Source: JoBlo.com

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