It’s the most wonderful time of year! Well, not quite, considering it’s March, and definitely not for the folks who created Office Christmas Party. Directed by the duo behind Blades of Glory (Will Speck, Josh Gordon), Office Christmas Party follows a failing tech company that attempts to save itself. They try to persuade one final client to do business with them by throwing an unforgettable Christmas party. It’s your drunken office Christmas party taken to the extreme.
It boasts a cast full of comedy greats such as Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live), Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) and Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat). You would expect this movie to be non-stop laughs from the second it starts to the moment it finishes, it’s not. Instead, this movie was repetitive and boring at best.
It could be forgiven if the plot got interesting (or even remotely funny) after the 15-minute mark. That’s what you would typically expect with a cast like this one, right? A bit of set up and then delve straight into nonstop gags and jokes. But the 25-minute mark hit and no laughs. Then the 35-minute mark hit and still no laughs. This continued until eventually it was over and I could count the amount of times I half laughed on one hand.
For the most part it was too safe, relying on wordy jokes and pop culture references that anyone could make. Every now and then the movie took a minor risk but they were overdone and unfunny. In fact, most of the jokes have already been done in other movies. For a film with 6 writers, 2 directors and a large handful of successful comedians, you would think that at least one of them could make an original joke.
It would have been better if the film took too many risks and dared to be different on a radical scale. I would much rather be offended over how controversial it was than by how boring it was. The plot, characters and overall context were uncreative and it barely focused on the things that make the holiday times funny. Take Christmas out of it, and the film is relatively unchanged. Combine all of this with annoying “club” songs in the soundtrack and you have yourself a 2-star movie. One for hiring Kate McKinnon and the other just because it’s Christmas.
RUNTIME: 105 mins; RATING: MA 15+
EXTRAS: ‘Throwing an Office Christmas Party’, ‘Outtakes’, ‘Deleted and extended scenes’.
‘Office Christmas Party’ is out on Blu-ray and DVD 15 March