Office Christmas Party

Well, OK, then. Office Christmas Party. You’ve seen this sort of movie before. Have a huge party that gets out of hand, and more often than not, there’s some underlying crisis that has to be dealt with. In many cases, the party is the culmination of all the built up tension where it comes to a head, at the big party everyone’s trying to get to, or the main characters are the hosts. More often than not, it’s only a part of the overall story. Think of films like PCU, or Weird Science. However, in this case, as with Bachelor Party, the Big Party is pretty much the entire movie.

Clay Vanstone (T. J. Miller) is the local branch manager of a tech company that his sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) is running. He’s the footloose and fancy free kind of guy, and she’s hard-nosed and cold. In defiance of his sister, he sets up the party that she nixed at the last minute, in order to woo a potential client. Along with his right hand man, Josh (Jason Bateman), they conspire to get the client to the party, where it’ll all work out.

Of course, with parties like this, they get out of control well before anyone realizes it. The play is made for the client Clay (Courtney B. Vance), while everything else is going mad. That’s the general story.

What will set a film like this apart from others is how it plays out. Sure, there’ll be people losing their inhibitions, and there’ll be damage. There will be outrageous behavior as people keep doubling down. That’s a staple of this kind of film, but is it enough?

In this case, I say it is. It’s a little choppy, but the individual scenes and performances stand up. You see the stereotypical people doing some of the stereotypical things, but people like Kate McKinnon, Vanessa Bayer and Rob Courddry put their own zing to the scenes they’re in. Even though you can more or less typecast these actors in they roles they play now, they still give good performances here that make the film funny along the way.

Given the kind of film it is, there’s a certain amount of predictability to it, but overall, I was pleased by it. There are some good laughs in the film, but not great ones. Still, I enjoyed myself.

The film is rated R for adult behavior and language, and has a runtime of 105 minutes, so it doesn’t wear out its welcome. There are a couple of outtakes during the credits, but that’s about it.