‘Tis the season to be jolly of course, and so what could be more appropriate than a Christmas themed comedy to get us all in the festive spirit. Office Christmas Party intends to bring the joy through a well recognised cast doing a slight variation to what we’ve seen them all do before. It’s intended to be a chaotic madcap mess and it is in many ways, with you’re usual sex, drugs and vulgarity that Hollywood feels we so desperately crave.
There isn’t really a story to this one. The company zenotech need to throw a party in order to convince a wealthy investor that they’re a close knit team so that they partner with them, otherwise Zenotech’s own CEO (Jennifer Anniston) will shut them down, resulting in job cuts on the eve of Christmas. Step in the team of Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn and T.J. Miller to perform their modern day Christmas miracle.
That lack of story means much of the jokes in this one stand on their own, don’t flow and more resemble a sequence of skits one after the other with no intention of coming together for a bigger pay off. Most of the narrative itself is pretty disjointed. They set up the premise, throw in a few jokes, add some minor exposition, more jokes, and so on. It feels so off kilter that you’re even caught off guard at points when the story attempts to progress. The ending itself (where Olivia Munn seems to come up with some idea to save their skin) feels so out of place it might actually be the biggest joke of the film.
Munn and Bateman have a dull version of a ‘will they-won’t they’ relationship that has to be seen to be believed. Anniston is respectively good in her Devil wears Prada role as CEO, but even they soften her for the sake of Christmas cheer. Fortunately, Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters) has many minor moments as the straight edge Human Resources manager that save many scenes, but that’s not enough to keep you entertained. Office Christmas Party feels sluggish where it should be agile. At points you do wish you partying down with the staff because at least they look like they’re having fun. This one struggles to find its groove and if it wasn’t for the Christmas tag bringing the festive audiences, it would easily be lost in the crowd.