Office Christmas Party review: Jennifer Aniston is the grinch who stole X-mas
Office Christmas Party
Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, TJ Miller, Kate McKinnon
Here’s the thing. I love party movies. For an introvert who stays away from booze and people in general, they are safe windows into what it’s like on the other side of the looking glass.
Dancing to flashy EDM, downing barrels of alcohol and being promiscuous enough to end up with an entire spectrum of STDs, such is the life of the free and the bold and to some extent, the characters of Office Christmas Party as well.
The film is the latest offering in the never-ending attempts at making the perfect Christmas movie and also, the latest dud. Jennifer Aniston plays a bossy boss again (after Horrible Bosses), Jason Bateman is the only responsible guy in the room again (after Arrested Development), TJ Miller is a good-hearted guy again (after Deadpool) and Olivia Munn is a hot nerd again (after The Newsroom).
Like all great party movies, cases in point being Project X and Superbad, there is a good and reasonable build-up to a party. A company that makes computer servers is going headfirst into losses and needs to impress an investor who doesn’t think their work-culture is any good. To make him believe that the organisation and its employees are one big family, they decide to throw a rave office Christmas party, of course, a first in its category.
They give their all to make the party cool. Branch manager Miller dresses like a Santa and employees Munn and Bateman dance in inflatable snowmen costumes. They make cocaine rain with fake snow machines, there are hookers, there are hired babies for the nativity play, there is a Jesus on a white horse and live reindeer with red noses.
Sounds fun, right? Except it isn’t.
For a great party, you need great music and the DJ they hired did not do a good job of it. All the songs sounded the same and it pains me greatly to say it but the beat, I believe, did not drop. The music was always too mellow for a party as rave as the one they perhaps intended to make.
The next thing you need is a fantastic buildup to the main event. You look forward to seeing the stuck-up investor finally give in to the madness of the party but while he takes a large amount of coke accidentally and starts enjoying himself, no one made a line for people watching the movie. The party is still as dull as it was for us. His excitement slowly gets irritating to watch and is not helped by Kate McKinnon’s awkward dancing and Miller’s freestyle rapping.
Finally, you need a major screw-up, the point where the party turns fatal for humans. Things get out of hand here too but the mess doesn’t even compare to what we saw in Project X. A few skulls crack open and a few bones crunch but nothing that cannot be controlled with a taser gun.
Aniston plays a far better, more believable horrible boss in Office Christmas Party than she did in her earlier two attempts with Horrible Bosses. You never really understand how much you miss her on screen until she pops up in another one of these side-y flicks with Bateman. But, of course, you forget about her as soon as you step out of the theatre.
Office Christmas Party tried to be the perfect Christmas movie but could not even manage to be a good party movie. I’d suggest you spend your hard earned money on a pizza party instead. Not very Christmas-y but far more fulfilling.
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