When I was reviewing Bad Moms a few months ago, I spoke about my distrust and general disappointment regarding movies specifically billing themselves as comedies. Trailers for these movies condense all of the wackiness and humour into 2 or 3 minutes, giving the impression of something which is going to be a laugh a minute riot but which actually turns out to be unfunny and completely lacking in any plot to carry it. The Office Christmas Party trailer reeks of this and part of me was dreading watching the movie. But, it’s Christmas and office parties are mostly fun with a good source of humour so maybe this would put a big smile on my face. Bad Moms did, so I had hope for this one too!
Sure enough though, Office Christmas Party manages to take that 2 minute trailer of fun and spread it as thinly as possible across 105 painful minutes.
Funnily enough, the early part of the movie, before the big party kicks in, is the most entertaining. We’re in the Chicago branch of a big tech company, headed up by Clay (TJ Miller). He inherited the branch from his father, who owned the whole company, but he isn’t really smart enough to be a successful boss. Jason Bateman is one of his managers, an ordinary guy going through a divorce, Olivia Munn is the clever geeky girl working on some amazing new tech. Kate McKinnon is the HR manager, out to spoil everyone’s fun for risk of some kind of law suit. It’s a good cast who frankly should have known better than to agree to this.
And then Jennifer Aniston arrives, doing her best bitchy boss impression. She’s the sister of Clay and is also CEO of the company. She’s just come from shutting down the Florida branch and isn’t impressed by the quarterly figures at the Chicago office either, threatening to lay off 40% of the staff, cancelling Christmas bonuses and cancelling the low key wine and cheese evening the company had planned that evening for their Christmas party. Unless they can land a 14 million dollar contact from a potential client they’re meeting with that day.
The meeting doesn’t go as planned so the team decide to throw a huge Christmas party that evening and invite the potential client along in a bid to impress him enough that he’ll change his mind and save the company from disaster.
So then it’s party time. No expense spared as large quantities of drink, food and decorations after brought in. The party starts and it’s basically a standard office Christmas party after that. If you’ve seen the trailer then you’ve pretty much seen all of the wacky, crazy stuff that goes on already. But then the movie mistakenly shifts away from the party for the last 20 minutes, going on some dull tangent as we follow Clay getting into some trouble with a hooker and her pimp. The team have to try and find him but by this point I just couldn’t wait for the movie to end. Huge disappointment.