A Christmas Party well-worth skipping
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