DVD Review - Office Christmas Party

Jason Bateman is top billed, but the movie is more of an ensemble. As such, Bateman is sidelined for most of the time. It's set up that his character is divorced and that he has feelings for a co-worker. None of that adds up to much. The movie doesn't devote enough time to Bateman's character or his story such that it is. Bateman is essentially neutered. He's given a role similar to his role in Arrested Development, except he's given no real jokes or comedic lines. He feels more or less like a placeholder. His voice in Zootopia was funnier than his performance here.

TJ Miller is the standout. If you've seen Miller's comedic style and personality on HBO's Silicon Valley, he brings that same punch to this. Miller co-stars as Clay Vanstone, the man-child running the Chicago branch of a tech giant called Zenotek. His sister, Carol, played by Jennifer Aniston, is the CEO. They both inherited their positions in the wake of their father's death. Clay is a veritable Santa Claus with slight, frat-boy tendencies, whereas Carol is the veritable Grinch who comes to steal Christmas. This causes a lot of sibling rivalry between them that often devolves to juvenile fights, almost as if they're five year-olds.

It's these fights that are the best bits. In fact, every scene with Aniston in it or driving it is gold. She's the best part. When she's on screen, the movie is fun. When she isn't, the movie is a tad dull, yet I get how small doses of her, very sharp character is probably appropriate.

The movie features a large cast of comedic actors, a few of whom are from Saturday Night Live. They're each afforded some moments to shine. Some are afforded more moments than others. Karan Soni (Deadpool and Safety Not Guaranteed) plays Nate, an office worker trying to prove to other co-workers he has a girlfriend. It's a subplot that does nothing but lead to more needless plot. We learn nothing about why Nate feels the urge to prove himself to his co-workers or his life prior to make us care about him. Soni is a good, comedic actor of whom I want to see more. It's just the material here lets him down.

Rated R for crude sexual content, language, drug use and graphic nudity.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 45 mins.


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