HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Office Christmas Party
HTS Overall Score:76
Let’s be honest here. Did ANYONE who saw the trailer for “Office Christmas Party” expect this to be the upper echelons of comedy? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Well, now that that is out of the way I have to say that it’s still a decently entertaining office comedy from the guys who brought you “Borat”, “The Hangover” and a slew of other dumb comedies (there were six writers!). Just like “Why Him?” we have another film that’s miraculously based around Christmas for no apparent reason, and incorporates a literal metric TON of well-known comedic actors in its inception. Anyone from Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry (who is sadly underutilized), Randall Park and many others. The entire effort is based upon the simple concept of “let’s throw a party and get crazy!”, and in that respect the movie delivers on all fronts. It’s wild, it’s crazy, and things get out of hand. In that same vein the movie itself seems to get out of hand. Initially starting out on a good foot the “Office Christmas Party” gets a little too zany for its own good, and the third act pretty much loses steam and follows the classic comedy cliché of something going horribly wrong and then the obvious “hero” comes out of nowhere to wrap up the movie with a cheery dose of cotton candy sweetness.
The plot to “Office Christmas Party” is pretty paper thing. T.J. Miller is the branch manager of a date storage firm who tends to be a little too much like T.J. Miller himself. He makes smarmy remarks, spends too much money and is a general all around idiot. His second in command, Joe (Jason Bateman), is the grounding force in the office and makes sure everything gets done. Unfortunately for them, Miller’s goofball character of Clay has an evil sister named Carol (Jennifer Aniston). An evil sister that just so happen to be the interim CEO of the firm after their dad died. Someone who loathes the Christmas spirit and takes GREAT pleasure in letting her brother know that she is about to close down their branch due to poor sales, or at least take out 40% of the staff in a cheap effort to save some money. Clay and Joe persuade her to hold off on closing down the studio for a few days and give them an opportunity to close a giant $14 million account that would put their branch in the black.
Thinking that the duo couldn’t pull it off, Carol gives them just enough rope to hang themselves and leaves smirking. Immediately getting down to business, Joe and Clay meet with the rep only to find out that he is about to go with Dell instead of them. In an effort to show the corporate stooge that they’re worthy of being considered, the two men decide to throw the biggest, baddest and craziest Christmas Holiday party of all times and show the prospective client the time of his life in a big butt kissing contest.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94649[/img]The main obstacle that “Office Christmas Party” has to get over is comedy itself, not the actors. Everyone is just having a blast with their roles and improvising like crazy (as is shown from the blooper reel at the end). Sadly, that’s the main problem as the film seems to have all these talented comedians just improvising like crazy and not following any sort of set script. A script that could have created cohesion from what is basically a series of strung together comedic vignettes. Sure, it’s fun for a while to watch the lunacy and laugh your head off at the improv skits these guys/gals are coming up with, but after a while it starts wearing thing and the sensation of repetition sets in. The first act actually seems like its going somewhere with the plot, but by the time the 2nd act of the film kicks in with the party that goes all out the window. The 2nd act is basically everyone making giant fools of themselves while imbibing enormous amounts of alcohol (Corddry has a great dance off scene with Kate McKinnon that had me chuckling), but the third act really fizzles out as the writers TRY to bring focus back to the original narrative introduced in the first act, but sputters and flounders by invoking all of the cheesy comedic tropes to get the main characters hugging and being friends again.
Acting wise I was having a blast watching all of the different personas on screen. McKinnon was sadly the least entertaining of the bunch, seemingly playing her SNL Hillary Clinton persona while making jabs of PC culture with her portrayal of the HR ice queen. Bateman is always fun to watch and Aniston has been making quite a name for herself playing semi-villainous scrooges lately. She’s deliciously evil (there’s a scene with a little girl at the airport that had me chuckling more than a little bit), and worth every second of screen time. The rest just offer their own little caricatures of themselves, ranging from rather amusing to just eye rollingly bad.
It's a simple little flick, and one that revels more in the debauchery of the party (as expected by the title) and way too much improvising all of their lines instead of actually making a cohesive script/film. I liked some of it, I loved other parts, and absolutely groaned at the 2nd half of the movie. For those who expect a big dumb movie, you’re gunna get exactly that. For those expecting a well-crafted comedy, I might have to advise looking elsewhere.
Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94657[/img]“Office Christmas Party” was shot using the Arri Alexa XT digital cameras and finished with a 2K master (pretty much expected being that the Alexa XT cameras use a 2.8K raw source) and the 2.39:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray looks REALLY impressive. The image is never overly smooth, but maintains a clean and precise looking picture that shows off all of the goodies despite taking place in a dimly lit office party most of the movie. Fine detail on up close facial shots is magnificent, and the wide-angle sequences of the lunacy going on during the late night party spare no detail either. Colors are bright and vivid, ranging from the cherry red of the Santa suit, to the bright neon lights when the DJ is a spinning on the dance floor. Contrast levels are very solid, and while the lighting can be a bit dim for a goodly portion of the movie, black levels and shadow detail never fail to deliver the goods (besides some of Blu-rays famous black crush that happens in the Russian club).
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=94665[/img]This is a movie about a big, raucous, nasty, over the top party and Paramount has given us a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that lives up to all the chaos and hype associated with that type of party. Dialog is clean and clear, and while the first act of the film is fairly low key and front heavy, all bets are off when the party is underway. The thudding of heavy bass lines and party music keep all channels engaged with activity, and the low-end slamming with heavy duty bass. Surrounds are pumped up with the sounds of screaming office workers, music, people crashing things out of windows and the occasional car chase over an upraised bridge. It’s a great sounding track for a comedy and really gets the listener solidly placed in the center of all the chaos going on.
• Unrated Version of the film
• Theatrical Version of the film
• Audio Commentary by directors Josh Gordon & Will Speck
• Throwing an Office Christmas Party
• Deleted & Extended Scenes
“Office Christmas Party” never looked like it was going to be the next “Horrible Bosses”, and it looked pretty average. In that respect it delivers all the goods as it is a fairly average comedy that has its funny moments, but ends up being fairly benign and clichéd at the end. I laughed, I chuckled, I winced, and I even rolled my eyes a few times, but overall I was pretty entertained throughout the hour and 51 minutes of “unrated” comedy (which actually is only a few minutes’ worth of scenes that don’t add much to the movie. Either version will do the viewer just fine). The technical specs for the film are amazing, and there’s some decent extras on there, including a nice commentary that is almost better than the film. Decent rental.
Starring: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston
Directed by: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Written by: Justin Malen, Laura Solon
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French, Portuguese DD 5.1
Runtime: 111 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: April 4th, 2017
Buy Office Christmas Party On Blu-ray at Amazon
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