There are many very funny people in “Office Christmas Party.” This is a plus because while you are watching and not laughing, you can think about all the other films or projects these people were in and wonder what the heck they are doing in this disaster.
“Office Christmas Party” is a train wreck. This horribly stupid movie about an office of lovable losers who fail upwards and then save the day is like a really, really bad Adam Sandler movie, but with involuntary cocaine use and male genitalia reproduced via 3D printer.
It’s an understatement to call the plot of “Office Christmas Party” razor thin. The Chicago-based office of Zenotek (can Mike Judge sue for intellectual property?) is teetering on the edge of being shut down by evil CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston). Her moronic brother, Clay (T.J. Miller), runs the branch and in an effort to save their office, he, CTO Josh (Jason Bateman), and Tracey (Olivia Munn) invite an important potential client (Courtney B. Vance) to their company Christmas party in an attempt to impress him.
And that’s it. The rest of “Office Christmas Party” is forced comedy with a handful of chuckles along the way. There’s little doubt that the six people credited with writing this tire fire had little more than an outline for directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck, who then simply plopped a camera down in front of these normally funny actors and said, “Hey, like…be funny and stuff.”
Most of “Office Christmas Party” is a series of events that become more and more idiotic as the movie progresses. It actually manages to turn a few normally funny actors, such as Rob Corddry or Jillian Bell, into annoying weirdos whose only purpose is to shout ridiculously vulgar statements.
Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn are left to pick up the shreds of story and be the only actors required to move the “plot” forward while their romance angle is undercooked and pointless. Bateman performs his straight man role admirably, but even his patented sarcastic wit can’t save this disaster.
Poor Kate McKinnon is trapped in a character that would normally be reserved for the last sketch of the night on “Saturday Night Live.” At first, her overly cautious human resources manager is oddly funny, but it quickly devolves into just odd. It’s the kind of character you’ve seen so many times that when her peccadilloes are revealed, it only elicits yawns.
The ringleader of “Office Christmas Party” is T.J. Miller and this could have been his breakout role into the national pop culture scene. If this does turn out to be a box office hit, there could be some good to come out of it as it may drive people to seek out his better material.
“Office Christmas Party” tries extremely hard to be an R-rated comedy that hits the absurd comic notes of something like “The Hangover.” It instead piles on one ridiculous situation after another, only fraying nerves and providing cringe-worthy moments for comedic actors that are, quite frankly, above this kind of nonsense.
If watching Jason Bateman simulate a sex act on an ice sculpture is how you get your kicks, by all means, enjoy. Otherwise, Bah Humbug.