Office Christmas Party Movie Review
Decline the invitation to Office Christmas Party. Great concept. Great cast. Great disappointment.
Despite starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller and Kat McKinnon, the Christmas comedy offers only marginal entertainment value and a memo of potential wasted.
Office Christmas Party is not without its funny parts (though many of them are in the trailers). Kate McKinnon is a riot in a supporting role as the uptight HR lady; her natural talent is able to overcome the mediocre material. Fortune Feimster only has two scenes as an opinionated Uber driver, but rocks both of them (“Carol!”). Jillian Bell is amusing as a mood-imbalanced pimp. And when directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory) truly let loose and allow the film to go full-on crazy—a slow-motion Jesus riding a horse, arms outstretched, through a sea of drunken office workers—the movie hints at what could have been.
The what could have been is what kills the movie, though. Office Christmas Party works best when it revels in its Office Space-meets-The Hangover vibe, forcing the audience to simultaneously relate to the humdrum of office life and question “how the hell did we get here?” as employees have orgies in bathroom stalls. But more of the film’s jokes fall flat than hit the mark, the actors—most notably the main cast—struggling to evoke laughter. Bateman and Aniston are about as bland as they can be, while Munn is once again wasted in a thankless role. The humor is more sitcom-oriented than edgy, forgettable more than remarkable.
For a movie that markets itself as being about office workers gone haywire, Office Christmas Party rarely delivers on its promise. It’s not as fun or as funny as it could have been (or needed to be). It isn’t a lump of coal, but it’s far from holiday classic.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.