Director(s): Josh Gordon & Will Speck
Starring: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, Courtney B. Vance, Jillian Bell
As I mentioned in my ‘Bad Santa 2‘ review, I’m not really one for festive family films and cheesy Christmas messages, but show me a film about a wild office Christmas party, where (as the trailer shows) there will be Christmas tree jousting, snowmen busting some moves on the dance-floor and a brilliant looking cast, and my ticket is as good as booked!
When Clay Vanstone (T.J Miller) receives an out-of-the blue visit from his no-nonsense sister (Jennifer Aniston), who is the interim CEO of his late father’s business, he’s threatened with job cuts and even branch closure just days before Christmas. Josh (Jason Bateman), Tracey (Olivia Munn) and Clay believe a signed deal from a new potential client could save their jobs. Their idea to win over this important client is to throw the best Christmas party that he’s ever been to, despite Clay’s sister, Carol, making it very clear that a Christmas party is off the table. As so often happens with office Christmas parties, it quickly gets out of hands, and Clay’s attempts to cheer up his unmotivated employees results in poor decisions, drunken antics and of course, bare ass cheeks on the photocopying machine.
The cast assembled for this film alone gave me a good impression that it’d be a film I would enjoy. Bateman, Munn and Miller share most of the screen time, but where Miller is the fun boss that wants to be everyone’s friend, and also has the attention span of a toddler, Bateman and Munn are more professional and try to keep their Branch Manager grounded and focused, without being all that serious themselves. Which you’ll see when the party really starts! Kate McKinnon plays her role as HR working stiff, Mary, brilliantly and she’s definitely someone to keep your eye on throughout the film. Other notable mentions for actors to keep an eye on in this film are Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Karan Soni who all bring a little extra something when their characters are on screen. Jennifer Aniston played her role as uptight and work-focused sister/CEO brilliantly and whilst she may get less screen time than some of the other characters, she’s definitely one of my favourites in the film.
The film doesn’t take long to build up to the main event, but we’re given enough time beforehand to get an insight into the characters, their personalities, and what they’re like at work. As you can imagine, throw alcohol and up-beat remixes of Christmas songs into the equation and the employees come out of their shell. The party itself takes up a good portion of the film, as you can imagine, but because there’s that much going on and the camera is never focused on the same character for too long, we get a good look at what everyone is up to, which most of the time is definitely something they shouldn’t be doing…
If you fancy a few festive laughs at the cinema this Christmas then I highly recommend going to watch this film. The film doesn’t delve into its sub-plots too deep and refrains from turning into a Christmas cheese fest, which more often than not Christmas comedies tend to do. With some catchy music on its soundtrack and plenty of verbal and visual jokes thrown in, this film makes for a great Christmas comedy that will surely get some laughs out of you.
Tom’s rating: 7.5 out of 10