‘Office Christmas Party’ Review: Is This All It Takes To Shock People?

The All-Star Cast Helps ‘Office Christmas Party’ Shine When The Comedy Doesn’t.

I’m not complaining that ‘Office Christmas Party‘ is raunchy but more so, is that all that Hollywood thinks is shocking? Sure, some slightly homoerotic moments or gential gags can work but not even Kate McKinnon could land a lazy fart joke. That’s the biggest issue I have. The movie could be great but it falls back on too many tired comedy tropes. If you really want to shock people, change up the formula and make the humor refreshing.

Office Christmas Party‘ is the newest effort from comedy directing duo Josh Gordon and Will Speck. Their previous works ‘Blades Of Glory‘ and ‘The Switch‘ feel like the lead up to this. Taking the irrelevant humor from ‘Blades Of Glory‘ and the Jason Batman/Jennifer Aniston combo from ‘The Switch‘, Speck and Gordon up the ante with a much grander production. While it’s better than the previously mentioned movies, it still doesn’t have that extra magic to it.

Other than delivering some bad jokes, the amazing cast makes this enjoyable. The leads of Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, and Jennifer Aniston all do well but the supporting cast steals ‘Office Christmas Party‘. Everyone from Kate McKinnon’s insane H.R. lady to smaller roles like Fortune Feimster’s Uber driver get all the laugh-out-loud moments. One of the most surprising comedic acts in this movie is Courtney B. Vance. Coming off of playing Johnnie Cochran in the hit show ‘The People vs O.J Simpson‘, I would have never expected such an insanely funny performance from him. A pleasnt surprise and he held his own with some of most popular names in comedy right now.

“Renting a Baby Is Cheaper Than You Think”
-Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller)

The story of the movie is fairly simple. Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller) runs a unsuccessful branch of an Internet business run by his bitchy sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston). He is given the task of either landing a major client or his entire branch will be shut down. With the help of Chief Technical Officer Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) and bad-ass Tracey (Olivia Munn), they throw an epic party to impress the client Walter (Courtney B. Vance). A basic plot from ‘Office Christmas Party‘ allows for a lot of hijinks and it does feel like one of the most wildest on-screen parties in a long time. Sadly, most of that is wasted on cheap jokes and cliched plot points. While still better than some of the other comedic efforts this year, I can’t help but grow tried of predictable romances or the same “all is lost” moment in these comedies.

There is obvious growth from Josh Gordon and Will Speck as filmmakers but it’s hard to see them fall into bad habits. Truthfully though, it seems to work. The screening I attended was packed with a theatre that laughed at EVERY joke presented. Comedy gags used in movies like ‘The Hangover‘ or ‘American Pie‘ feel stale to me…there is still an audience for it. I believe that will allow for ‘Office Christmas Party‘ to be a box-office success this holiday season.

Final Thoughts:

Office Christmas Party‘ is harmless but I still want to see the genre pushed further. Shock comedy has been around for decades and to keep it going, films like this need to give a little more. Thankfully directors Speck & Gordon had a talented cast with some genuinely funny moments among the many duds.

Looking for a decent laugh this Christmas season? Check this out!

EJ Moreno
EJ Morenohttp://Vimeo.com/EJMoreno
Who is EJ Moreno? Is he a trained physician? No. Is he a former Miss Universe contestant? Possibly. With a bachelors degree in film and a love of pop culture, he brings an alternative view to the world of pop culture journalism. Follow him on Twitter @EJKhryst and check out his film work at Vimeo.com/ejmoreno