From the directors of Blades of Glory comes one of this years festive film offerings. An alcohol fuelled comedy starring T.J. Miller, Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, and Jennifer Aniston.
Clay Vanstone (Miller) is a manager for one of his late fathers Zenotek branch. Always wanting to impress and appease his workers Clay tirelessly makes the effort to make them happy, even if it is at a cost to the business. On the eve of this years Christmas party his jealous sister Carol (Aniston), the interim CEO of Zenotek, comes in with the threat to axe the branch, layoff the staff, and of course cancel the Christmas party. Chief technical officer Josh (Bateman), and his worker Tracey (Munn), manage to buy some time in order for them to keep the branch open. Their mission? To impress a client and bring business to the company. How do they plan to do it? Throw a Christmas party like no other.
Truthfully, Office Christmas Party is as bland as that story sounds. As a film it’s stuffed with more generic eye rolling story arcs and plot points than you’re expecting. From the feuding siblings to the workplace romance it’ all been done before with no effort in daring to be different. The upside is the comedy is better than the story, but even that is distinctly average. Were it not for quick talking rising star T.J. Miller who is the life and soul of the party, amply supported by the superb Kate McKinnon, Office Christmas Party would be duller than a lump of coal. Part of the problem is, outside of the presence of T.J. Miller, the main attempts at comedy are a series of tedious sketch like scenes with the supporting cast, which at best force a chuckle. At the total opposite end of the spectrum to T.J. Miller’s character is Jason Bateman’s character Josh. It’s a character he has played countless times before, the inevitable sensibly boring ying to Miller’s enjoyable yang. It’s so incredibly frustrating to watch a talented actor coast through trivial roles like this, especially after his turns in The Gift, and Bad Words.
Despite it’s promise Office Christmas Party struggles to ignite the same spark that is so readily available in the performances of T.J. Miller and Kate McKinnon. Both continue to elevate their status as refreshing comedy talent with quick witted retorts and eccentric characters. However every time the film takes a step outside of the titular office party the comedy wanes, and with a rather uninspiring story that culminates in the exciting endeavour of providing people internet, there is little else to take away from it.