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Festive Chaos

Saturday, December 10, 2016
By Deepa Gahlot

Office Christmas Party
Directed by:
Josh Gordon & Will Speck
Cast (Voices):   Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston and others
Rating: * *

The words Office Christmas Party would evoke a snigger, a smile or an embarrassed groan, depending in the kind of workplace it is and what kind of people work there. If it’s a movie packed with comedic talent, actors and writers, it has to be one of those riotous affairs when everything that could go wrong does, Bad Santa meets The Hangover, that sort of thing.

If there is a Christmas bash, there has to be a Scrooge, played in this film (directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck) by Jennifer Aniston, as Carol Vanstone, the CEO of a Chicago computer company. She intends to fire half the office staff before Christmas, when her brother Clay (TJ Miller), the branch president brother gets the chief technical officer Josh (Jason Bateman) and systems engineer Tracey (Olivia Munn) to help throw a big Christmas party – or, as the HR head puts it, “a non-denominational holiday mixer.”

As the chaos goes on the Clay and his pals try to save their colleagues’ jobs by getting a contract from a high profile client (Courtney B Vance). The party gets underway half way through the film, and it has pretty much what can be expected, mainly drunken shenanigans.

There are too many characters rushing about and a lot happening, but the audience barely gets to stay with a strand or develop any sympathy for any of them. Some of the actors do manage to make their gags work, but most of them are redundant, or at least peripheral to the thin plot.

The film just never gets funnier than a chuckle or two, and after a while the relentless buffoonery starts to grate on the nerves. It has obviously been made to cash in on the holiday season, and those who have nothing better to do, like attend parties, could catch it, and then forget all about it. By next Christmas other such movies would have been churned out.

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