Blu-ray Review: Office Christmas Party
By John Corrado
★★½ (out of 4)
Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) is the chief technical officer at the Chicago branch of a struggling tech firm, working for the well-meaning but somewhat irresponsible department head Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller), who inherited the position from his late father.
They are in the process of planning a “non-denominational holiday mixer.” But when the uptight CEO of the company (Jennifer Aniston) – who just so happens to be Clay’s jaded sister – enters the scene, she decides to cancel the party and also threatens to shut down the floundering branch, which would put their employees out of work.
So Josh and Clay decide to throw an even bigger and more wild Christmas party in the office, with the goal being to try and raise the spirits of their co-workers, and hopefully save their jobs by impressing potential client Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance). But the party inevitably gets way out of hand, as the employees descend into drunken debauchery. There are a lot of moving pieces at play in Office Christmas Party, including a subplot involving tech developer Tracey (Olivia Munn) who has romantic feelings for Josh, and numerous side characters like the quirky human resources director Mary (Kate McKinnon), but the all-star cast keeps things moving at a good pace.
This is as much a holiday movie as it is a wild party comedy, and there are laughs to be had throughout, as the shenanigans grow increasingly wild and the skilled cast tries to outdo each other with improvised one-liners. The screenplay also works in a fair bit of heart, with the central premise built around how far the department heads will go to in order to save the jobs of their employees. While not as good overall as some other seasonal comedies, namely The Night Before and A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas which also mostly unfolded over a single night, Office Christmas Party is still an entertaining and frequently enjoyable film that is kept fun to watch thanks to the likeable actors.
Along with both the theatrical and extended editions of the film, the Blu-ray also includes commentary with directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the pretty decent production featurette Throwing An Office Christmas Party, and some outtakes and deleted scenes from the film.
Office Christmas Party is a Paramount Home Media Distribution release. The theatrical version is 105 minutes and rated 14A, and the extended cut runs for 110 minutes and is unrated.