Train wreck of an office party makes for holiday laughs

Train wreck of an office party makes for holiday laughs

‘Office Christmas Party’

Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, T.J. Miller

Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck

Rated: R

 

Rude, crude and hilarious, the ubiquitous holiday comedy comes wrapped in a big shiny bow this year. Filled with the kind of lowbrow humor you would expect and with about the same percentage of the jokes hitting their mark, what sets this one apart is the cast that includes a long list of funny people who seem determined to make it worth your while.

The party that was not supposed to be goes off course pretty quickly, leaving the last half of the movie as a chase around the snowy streets of Chicago looking for despondent branch manager Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller), one of the heirs to Zenotech, a national hi-tech firm. His sister, Carol (Jennifer Aniston), is the brains and CEO of the company and she’s come to town like Ebenezer Scrooge in Manolo Blahniks to shut down Clay’s division, which means no Christmas party scheduled for that night.

Clay’s tech manager, Josh (Jason Bateman), and Tracey (Olivia Munn), the computer whiz in the outfit, set out to get the one piece of business that could keep their office open by inviting that company’s decision maker Walter (Courtney B. Vance) to see what a great outfit they are, demonstrated by the Christmas party they plan on throwing despite Carol’s directive.

The party scenes are just what you would expect with a lot of R-rated raunchy humor thrown in. There’s a rather suggestive egg nog fountain, a potty-mouthed DJ, a couple of reindeer, a real baby hired for the live nativity scene and a snow machine that accidentally spews a baggie of cocaine right into Walter’s face. And it’s growing bigger by the minute thanks to a citywide tweet by the company’s receptionist.

Aniston, who seems to enjoy the mean-girl vibe she also played in “Horrible Bosses,” and Bateman play the foils to most of the jokes dished out by Miller, whose quirkiness works really well here, and Kate McKinnon as the company’s human resources stickler. Rob Corddry and SNL’s Vanessa Bayer are also in the mix, as is comedienne Jillian Bell, who almost steals the movie as a happy-faced pimp who provides a date for one of the office geeks to save face with his co-workers.

This is not high art, folks. It’s just there to help you let off a little stress during the holidays. Better done as a movie rather than at your own office Christmas party.

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