Plot: What’s it about?
I’m all about the raunchy comedy. And I love writer/directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon who are best-known for the Will Ferrell comedy Blades of Glory. Yes, whoever had the audacity to make a movie about male ice skaters is someone I’d like to have a drink or two with! In this outing, the duo have crafted something rather unique and something we don’t think about too often – the office Christmas party. Granted, in these politically-correct times (a reference that’s prevalent in the movie with Kate McKinnon’s HR character) they probably don’t make ’em like they used to. This movie changes all of that and we get a top notch cast that’s cut loose. Will this be the new It’s A Wonderful Life or A Christmas Story? For me, probably.
Office Manager Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller) is a nice guy. He’s lacking in the managerial department, but takes care of his 200+ person staff. His sister, Carol (Jennifer Aniston) is all about the bottom line and has shown up in Chicago to close down the branch. Word gets out and instead of sulking, Clay decides to use the last bit of his inheritance to throw the party of the century. Yep, you guessed it – an office Christmas party. All hope isn’t lost, though. If they can sign a key client (Courtney B. Vance), it’ll save the branch and everyone gets to keep their job. Things escalate very quickly and before we know it we’re knee deep in drugs, sex and everything in between. Amid all the chaos, recently divorced Josh (Jason Bateman) and Tracey (Olivia Munn) have both been offered jobs at the New York office working for Carol. Oh there are also hookers, mobsters, jousting and the city of Chicago loses their internet. ‘Tis the season to be merry!
Ok, ok. The plot isn’t perfect. In fact, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But if you’re nitpicking details in a movie like this then you’re really missing the point of viewing it to begin with. I will say that Bateman, Aniston and McKinnon play pretty much the same characters they do in every movie. But it works for them. T.J. Miller, who helped make Deadpool a hoot, is in rare form and the ensemble cast seems to have fun as well. Is it really a Christmas movie? Sure, why not. Will it set the standard that some company out there will try to replicate? I wouldn’t doubt it. This movie has the right actors playing the right parts and it’s all about having a good time. Sit back, relax, have some eggnog and let the movie take you away. It’s that simple.
Video: How’s it look?
When you’ve got a snow machine that’s blowing cocaine at a Christmas party, I’m guessing that the picture quality is of the utmost importance. Thankfully Paramount’s 2.40:1 AVC HD image gets the job done. That’s a good thing too, as there’s also a living nativity scene as part of the party (with a real baby, no less)! When you watch the Marketing department have sex with one another in a bathroom stall or see a drug-induced man try to swing across the room from lights – it becomes less about how the image looks. But as I already said, it looks good. Contrast is strong, colors are bold (the red on T.J. Miller’s costume nearly jumps off the screen) and detail is sharp as a tack. This checks all the boxes. Kudos to you, Paramount, you’ve been good this year.
Audio: How’s it sound?
You wouldn’t think it, or maybe you would if you took a gander at the cover, but this DTS HD Master Audio track rocks! It’s been a while since I heard the Fat Boys’ Christmas song and you’ve got car chases and the like – well it’ll keep all of your speakers occupied. Vocals, for lack of a better term, are strong and crisp. Surrounds add some much needed ambiance and and the LFE get their workout as well. I could go on, but I won’t. This track will leave you satisfied. ‘Nuff said.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Unrated Version and Theatrical Versions of the film
- Audio Commentary – Directors Josh Gordon & Will Speck provide a pretty amusing commentary track (this is only available on the theatrical cut of the movie) with some notes on casting, improvisational comedy, the shoot and everything in between.
- Throwing an Office Christmas Party – Your standard “making of” EPK containing interviews with the cast and crew, some behind the scenes footage and the like.
- Outtakes – Basically ten minutes of improv with different actors and their lines.
- Deleted & Extended Scenes – Five total including an alternate ending which, as per usual, isn’t really that different than the theatrical ending.
The Bottom Line
Fans of corporate America might find some humor in this and for those that don’t, well it’s got a good cast. I laughed out loud several times and despite some obvious plot holes, if you can let it – Office Christmas Party is pretty fun. I doubt any office Christmas party has ever been like this, but you never know. It’s good-looking and contains just enough extras to maybe pick it up.