Office Christmas Party review: If you're in for a loud, crass movie, this is a perfect choice
Zenotek, an IT company that has not been doing well recently. The manager of the branch, Clay, who has inherited this position from his dad decides that the best way to get over gloom and doom is by having an office party.
castJason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Tj Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Mckinnon
directorJosh Gordon, Will Speck
It’s perfectly ok to like crude comedy – everyone needs to take a break from intellectual cinema at least once a month. So if you’re in the mood for loud, crass, nonsensical, and a mostly gross time at the cinema replete with physical gags, the Office Christmas Party is for you. This is the Hollywood version of a brain dead desi masala movie, but without the tacky aesthetics of the latter.
The plot is as serviceable as it can be to make the scenario as ridiculous as possible. We’re introduced to Zenotek, an IT company that has not been doing well recently. The manager of the branch Clay (TJ Miller) who has inherited this position from his dad decides that the best way to get over gloom and doom is by having an office party. The company’s biggest client Walter (Courtney Vance) is about to drop them and that worries exec Josh (Jason Bateman) who knows that if Walter goes the company tanks. His solution is simply to invite Walter over to the party.
There are a bunch of other characters like Jennifer Aniston as Clay’s bitchy sister, Olivia Munn as the CTO and Karan Soni (the taxi driver from Deadpool) as an IT honcho who likes hookers, but their introduction is only to service the initiation of the party. The plot, therefore, hangs as little more than a reason for every single character in the story to behave in either an obnoxious or shocking manner. The moment the first line of powdery white drug that looks like Christmas snow is snorted, the film goes into full mayhem mode. A vending machine exiting from the window of the top floor of the building is one of the more subtle things that happen in the party. Much more impactful are the one liners being hurled about like bowling balls and a shot of someone who looks like Jesus riding a horse around the office cubicles.
If you’re in the right mood there are a few laughs to be had, but they’re naturally a reaction to cheap gags, not really sophisticated comedy. The bright spark in the film is Kate McKinnon who plays an HR personnel who is originally stereotypically uptight and then transforms into a hilarious unhinged party animal. Her segment is simply a higher budgeted segment of a Saturday Night Live special but even if you don’t snigger at anything else in the film, her presence will make you chortle a little bit. If you like TJ Miller in Silicon Valley, he’s pretty much the exact same character this time around as well, and that’s always a good thing.
This is ultimately a more adult version of films like Project X with fairly high doses of smut that you can relish. As the film progresses, the debauchery goes into fairly shocking levels, but you don’t get to see its full impact thanks to our censor board here. The experience can be a little frustrating since the campiness and risqué material is supposed to be part of the comedic routine, and all you get is a ‘sanitised’ version of what is supposed to play on the screens. It would be better to wait for the DVD and watch it sloshed with your friends for the full experience.
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