A Christ­mas Party well-worth skip­ping

Matamata Chronicle - - Movies -

Ja­son Bate­man and Jennifer Anis­ton are in an­other com­edy to­gether, and so you can pretty much guess what that means – he’ll sleep­walk through be­ing the ev­ery­man emo­tional core of the pic, and she’ll be some ver­sion of main­stream-friendly out­ra­geous.

They’re but two of the core cast of Of­fice Christ­mas Party, which at times re­sem­bles a Franken­stein’s hy­brid be­tween their prior generic com­edy fare like Hor­ri­ble Bosses and sprawl­ing en­sem­ble-driven multi­nar­ra­tives in the vein of Love Ac­tu­ally or New Year’s Eve.

As the ti­tle sug­gests, Of­fice Christ­mas Party re­lies on a thread­bare com­edy trope – the crazy, out-of-con­trol party – and co­me­di­ans stranded mid­way be­tween cameos and true sup­port­ing roles (TJ Miller, Kate McKin­non, Vanessa Bayer, Rob Corddry).

No one re­ally steps up to own pro­ceed­ings, let alone the writ­ers, and as a con­se­quence the film drifts along from fa­mil­iar beat to fa­mil­iar beat with­out any­one giv­ing the 100 per cent needed to el­e­vate this be­yond a sim­ply func­tional com­edy. In fact, it falls to Court­ney B Vance (de­serv­ing Emmy-win­ner as Johnny Cochran in The Peo­ple v. OJ Simp­son) to ramp things up, play­ing against type as a straight­laced dude who – wait for it – loses his s... when – hold on – he gets a face­ful of cocaine due to a mishap with a snow ma­chine.

Like many a real of­fice christ­mas party, you’d be cor­rect to go into this film with low ex­pec­ta­tions. They’ll even­tu­ally be met – but no more – with a few chuck­les, even a laugh along the way, but the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence won’t be any­thing you’ll par­tic­u­larly care to re­mem­ber the fol­low­ing day. – Steve Ne­wall Of­fice Christ­mas Party (R16) Star­ring Ja­son Bate­man, Jennifer Anis­ton, TJ Miller Di­rected by Will Speck and Josh Gor­don 105 mins

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