Office Christmas Party – Someone Forgot to Spike the Eggnog – Review

Courtesy Paramount

Courtesy Paramount

I know you think this might be a documentary about your company’s annual holiday party, but Office Christmas Party falls short of your wildest dreams and desires, much like most parties do.

Jason Bateman stars as Josh – the Chief Technical Officer for a data storage company full of bitter, lackadaisical employees.  The new CEO, Carol (Jennifer Aniston), inherited the place from her father, and she has been running roughshod over everything and anything he created.

Now, she is demanding unrealistic profit growth, and threatening to close the branch, even though (and mostly because) it is run by her brother, Clay (T.J. Miller).

While Clay is a bad manager more concerned with planning and executing the company holiday party, the party may be his last hope.  The man making the decision on a big contract that can save the branch, Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), wants to do business with a company that is more of a throwback to the good old days, so Josh, Clay and Tracey (Olivia Munn), invite him to the party to show him a good time.

Will the party be a success?

Will the branch be closed?

When will wild, crazy outrageous comedies become wild, crazy and outrageous again?

Office Christmas Party is another in the string of comedies that don’t come close to living up to the promised zaniness.

It’s too slow with a pace always a step behind where it should be to make us laugh.  Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon need to go bigger and more often to fill the movie with the kind of naughtiness that would put you on Santa’s naughty list permanently.  We get some laughs here and there, but you think a total of four co-writers would be able to come up with four times the jokes.

Instead, the party itself becomes background noise for more conventional and less hilarious stories about Clay’s need to prove himself, the jealousy Carol has harbored for years, and the unfulfilled romance between Josh and Tracey.

Office Christmas Party shouldn’t behave this nicely and shouldn’t have a cliché ending where everything is set right with the world.

The movie we want, the movie WE NEED, should be more irreverent, more uninhibited and more shocking.

1_5waffles_sml1 ½ Waffles (Out of 4)

Office Christmas Party is rated R for graphic nudity, drug use, crude sexual content and language throughout.