Office Christmas Party

T. J. Miller sure knows how to make a style statement
Verdict: 
6/10- Office Christmas Party is more bah-humbug than holiday cheer.
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A blowout bash is the solution to a tech company's woes in Office Christmas Party.

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Every December brings a round of festive films which are fun but not overly memorable.

This year Hollywood is offering up Office Christmas Party, a film by Blades of Glory directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, who choose to take the “out of hand party” trope and give it a Yuletide twist.

The plot revolves around Carol (Jennifer Aniston), the CEO of a company called Zenotek, who tries to close her hard-partying brother Clay’s (T. J. Miller) Chicago branch of the business, which he inherited from his late father.

Accordingly, Clay and his chief technical officer Josh (Jason Bateman) decide to rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client, Walter (Courtney B. Vance), and close a sale that will save their jobs.

Even though the party promises lots of booze and perhaps even cash bonuses, everything that can go wrong does, and the narrative begins to resemble a festive edition of The Hangover.

The gags fly thick and fast, and mostly involve the usual culprits: awkward sexual encounters, accidental drug use, and inappropriate use of photocopiers.

Scripted by Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer, the jokes never quite hit the mark, though it coasts along on the basis that the key cast members seem to be having a blast on set.

The laughs certainly die down half way through the film when a bizarre sub-plot emerges, which involves Josh’s tech whiz colleague Tracey (Olivia Munn), who comes up with a plan to create Internet connectivity through electrical appliances.

Certainly didn’t anticipate this film to venture into hypothetical concepts for next-generation Wi-Fi networks - but it does!

Bateman and Aniston, who have starred in several movies together including The Switch, deliver acceptable, if predictable performances, though it has to be said that Aniston’s perfect blonde mane of hair could just about have a sub-plot of its own.

But there’s no romance between these co-stars, instead that’s left to Bateman and Munn, who in all honesty, have zero chemistry on screen.

A couple of actors hold the plot threads together - Miller assumes his favoured part of the “man-child”, as per his breakout role in HBO’s Silicon Valley, but as he does it so well and delivers the best lines of the movie, he can be forgiven.

Cameo performances from 22 Jump Street’s Jillian Bell and Trainwreck star Vanessa Bayer also provide funny moments, even if they’re underused throughout. While rising comedy star Fortune Feimster manages to garner a good number of smiles from the one joke she’s given as an Uber driver.

In all, Office Christmas Party is fraught with clichés, including everything from difficult sibling relationships to unrequited office romances.

While this may be the epitome of the popcorn comedy holiday movie, if you’re looking to escape the Christmas rush or avoid your own festive outings, it provides a certain level of enjoyment.

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