Movie Review: Office Christmas Party
Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller) is the manager of a branch of a tech company called Zenote. Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) is Clay Vanstone's older sister and CEO of the company. When Clay Vanstone's branch underperforms, Carol Vanstone threatens to shut the branch down unless they can land a big client. In order to do so, Clay Vanstone decides to throw a big Christmas party and invite the big client to win him over. Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn and Kate McKinnon all play Zenotek employees who try keep the party under control and impress the client so they do not lose their jobs.
- Kate McKinnon - While I thought Kate McKinnon talked and looked like her Hillary Clinton impersonation for the entire movie, the comedy she delivered was easily the best comedy of the movie (in my opinion of course) I do not think she over did it like I thought she did in the Ghostbusters movie. Her one liners and craziness made for some great moments and the film. She was the comedic relief when the rest of the cast was busy moving the plot of the movie along. While I do not think Kate McKinnon the actress was responsible for them, her character (Human Resources representative) puts up some flyers before the party. Keep an eye out for these flyers as I thought they were pretty funny.
- Plot - This was not a movie that has a plot that will blow your mind, but for a comedy, I think the plot of this one worked. I bought every characters motivations. I bought Clay Vanstone's reasoning for throwing a crazy party. I bought the fact that, due to all these crazy employees, the party would get out of hand. I bought Carol Vanstone's reasoning for shutting down the branch and trying to shut down the party. Aside from one plot detail (see Anywair in the Cons section), this movie had a natural plot progression throughout.
- Characters - There are a lot of characters in this movie though I did not feel as though the movie was crowded. I thought all of the characters worked except for one (see Randall Park in the Cons section). I liked all of the side characters, but my only wish was that we could have seen more of the coworkers interacting with one another on a professional level to see the inter-department stereotypes. That being said, I will reiterate that I had fun seeing all the different employees of this branch.
- Bateman & Munn - The chemistry between these two characters was, unfortunately for me, a Con. I thought the two characters got along great as coworkers and friends but I did not think they worked as a romantic interest in the film. The movie flirts with the idea of these two ending up with each other right from the beginning, and I did not buy that sort of relationship between them so I did not really care about if they ended up together or not. I like both Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn a lot, and I would like to see a movie where two lead characters male and female can work together and NOT explore a romantic relationship, especially where the two actors don't have romantic chemistry together. Again, I did think that the two had good chemistry as friends and coworkers.
- Nothing Special - This movie's biggest issue was that it just was not funny enough. This was a very average comedy. The build up to this movie in the rising action suggested that the party was going to be out of control. It was but the movie did not focus on that. As soon as the party starts getting absolutely crazy, all the main characters leave. We get a couple of quick montage scenes of the craziness, then the next morning we see a shot of the aftermath. This was kind of a bummer as the trailers give the impression that we are going to be in for a wild ride at this party. Then there was the comedy itself. Aside from Kate McKinnon, there wasn't a whole lot to laugh at during this movie. Jokes were sacrificed in order to push the plot forward which is really unfortunate as this movie had a lot of potential.
- Anywair - This was the only part of the plot that didn't work for me. Anywair was supposed to be this innovative tech idea. However when it was being explained, I knew it was something that would NEVER work. I got through the scene knowing that this is just a dumb comedy, but then there is a hugely coincidental event that requires this technology and then there is an incredibly cheesy scene when they are implementing the technology. I didn't buy it. I thought that none of the scenes involving Anywair worked. I think that this subplot should have been taken out of the movie all together since it just did not work.
- Randall Park - This character was a huge fail for me. That being said the character was not in the movie much, but when he was on screen it was a huge fail. If you see the movie you will see what I mean. I think this character was supposed to be shockingly hilarious and instead it was just weird. In a bad way. I think this character is another thing that should have been taken out of the movie all together.
Office Christmas Party was a severely average comedy. It promised a crazy party, but delivered a chaotic montage scene. It promised heavy laughs and gave one character (Kate McKinnon) most of the comedic moments. The rest of the characters were spent furthering the plot of the film which shouldn't have been the case. I think the movie more or less delivered exactly the kind of movie I expected. Not bad, but not great. This kind of bummed me out as I thought this premise with this cast had a LOT of potential. Overall I think you will have some laughs in this movie so if you are bored this weekend, get some people together and see this movie but don't expect anything great. Otherwise, you could probably pass on this movie and catch it when it comes out on home video or Netflix.