Director(s): Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Cast: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller
Release Date: April 4, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 6.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
When an overbearing CEO (Jennifer Aniston) decides to close her hard-partying brother’s failing branch, he (T.J. Miller) and his fired up co-workers (Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Kate McKinnon) decide to throw an epic office party to land a big shot client and save everyone’s jobs. Fueled by booze and bad decisions, things quickly spiral out-of-control in one of the craziest nights of their lives.
‘Office Christmas Party’ joins the employees of a local office branch just before the holidays. When branch manager Clay (Miller) is confronted by his evil, controlling sister (and company CEO) Carol (Aniston) he soon realizes he may lose everything once it becomes clear she has every intention of shutting down his branch and ruining all potential fun in the process, including cancelling the company Christmas party last minute. Desperate to do whatever it may take to save their branch such as acquiring a win so big it can’t be ignored, Clay and his trusty right hand man Josh (Bateman) along with other company goofballs ignore the CEO’s orders and race against time in an attempt to throw the biggest possible Christmas bash imaginable, while also extending an invite one of their biggest potential clients in order to hopefully secure their branches future. Now, with all the plans in place and their hopeful target locked in to attend, their epic Office Christmas Party rages like no other, with only the future of their office and all their careers hanging in the balance; what could possibly (not) go wrong?
Directed by filmmaking duo Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory, The Switch) from a screenplay written by Justin Malen, Laura Solon, and Dan Mazer, Gordon and Speck do a more than capable job at the helm of ‘Office Christmas Party’ guiding the fun and laughs along smoothly. The film certainly owes a huge portion of the credit to the numerous talented and hilarious folks that comprise the cast and really make the film so enjoyable, including Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses), Olivia Munn (Magic Mike), T.J. Miller (TV’s Silicon Valley), Jillian Bell (TV’s Workaholics), Courtney B. Vance (Terminator Genisys), Rob Corddry (TV’s Ballers), Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters 2016), Jennifer Aniston (TV’s Friends), Randall Park (TV’s Fresh Off The Boat), Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch) and more, nearly all of them providing fun and more than adequate performances at the very least in each of their respective roles.
‘Office Christmas Party’ is a consistently hilarious, vulgar and no-holds-barred holiday comedy that definitely has its issues, yet nonetheless delivers a humorous, carefree and just outright fun ride that always manages to provide ample smile and laugh inducing entertainment throughout its fairly bumpy course. In following so many common formula guidelines and a ridiculously unimaginative concept and reasoning, ‘Office Christmas Party’ both suffers and thrives; suffering in its absence of anything even remotely unique or noteworthy, and thriving as it allows more opportunity for the countless talented and funny cast members to each be allowed a chance to actually do their thing; even if the inclusion of so many characters to begin with also results in an often jumbled and mismatched storyline. ‘Office Christmas Party’ fortunately never attempts to be something it’s not though and even if awfully generic in most regards, it certainly manages to deliver the goofy, raunchy and carefree fun it sets out to and the stellar comedic cast also helps a great deal to keep things moving. For those interested in more information pertaining to the Unrated (or Extended) Cut of the film included on the Unrated Blu-ray release (both cuts of the movie are included on the Blu-ray), the new Extended Cut runs just over 5 minutes longer than the Theatrical edition, although I’m unfortunately unable to provide any specifics regarding the differences between them as I’ve only had the opportunity to watch the Extended cut so far. I would strongly urge fans of similar vulgar and no-holds-barred comedies and diehard fans of the various talented and hilarious cast members featured to make a point of giving ‘Office Christmas Party’ a shot when you can. It may not be overly unique or groundbreaking but it does provide nonstop fun and consistent laughs all capably delivered by a powerhouse comedy cast and is well worth checking out.
Overall, ‘Office Christmas Party’ offers a healthy supply of laughs, no shortage of over the top moments and a generally easygoing ride that while in many ways familiar to countless other films is no less enjoyable as a result. For those desiring a carefree laugh-fest without any real inhibitions or need for complex thinking required, this one should have no trouble keeping you laughing and enjoying yourself throughout its course. Even if by no means perfect and often falling victim to painfully overdone and tedious actions and moments, I would still highly recommend ‘Office Christmas Party’ to anyone seeking a raunchy, hilarious and carefree holiday-themed comedy with one truly impressive comedic cast to simply kick back and relax to one evening. It should easily prove itself worth the cost of a rental for those who are already interested in checking it out yet might be understandably hesitant to simply drop the funds on a blind purchase; or worthy of a watch when available on your favorite streaming service at the absolute least.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Office Christmas Party’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio for both the Theatrical and Extended Cuts of the film. The video presentation (at least on the Extended Cut which is the version I opted for viewing) looks wonderful and delivers a sharp, detailed and brightly colored presentation throughout without any notable faults to be found within. It holds up admirably even during the many heavily populated, fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences, without anything occurring on screen ever becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a top notch high definition video presentation from Paramount that should have no trouble thrilling fans of the film and casual viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and surprisingly aggressive audio presentation for a comedy film. It constantly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send the perfectly selected music, along with crowd chatter (or screaming), some goofy action and vehicle effects, destruction and plenty more whipping throughout the various speakers, and never resulting in any dialogue which might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, this is an outstanding 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes plenty of additional fun to the overall viewing experience and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Office Christmas Party’ includes a few fun and humorous extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck’ (included on the Theatrical Cut only), in addition to a behind the scenes Featurette ‘Throwing an Office Christmas Party’ (running approximately 12 minutes in length) which includes interviews/comments from the cast and crew, behind the scenes footage, and more. Various ‘Outtakes’ (approximately 9 minutes altogether), and some ‘Deleted Scenes’ (3 minutes combined) from the movie are also included.