Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Office Christmas Party (2016)

Office Christmas Party is a sporadically funny comedy that took its time to get going and seems hampered by its own feeble plot. It's little surprise then that it has received mostly negative reviews but I do think that the tone of some of them has done the film a disservice because, for all its faults, this isn't an embarrassingly bad movie, it's just a somewhat uneven one.  

Overall, the feeling I had throughout my viewing experience was goodwill - I wanted it to pick up, I wanted it to find its feet - and a lot of that was down to the excellent cast.

Now granted, Jason Bateman is essentially playing the same role he's played in virtually everything, but he still has - to me, at least - enough likeability to get a free pass, whilst Jennifer Aniston represents the film's Scrooge, and it's amusing to see Rachel be mean to a little girl and wipe the floor with some pimp's hulking heavies. 

As with Ghostbusters though, it is Kate McKinnon who steals the whole movie by seemingly working to a completely different script to everyone else around her. As Mary, the demented, workaholic HR lady who gradually reveals her wild eccentricities as the night progresses, she's on incredible form and I just had to see her wink at TJ Miller in one of the early boardroom scenes to be up for whatever came along and thankfully all of her stuff hits the spot and finds your funny bone. 

Also on fine form is the gorgeous Olivia Munn, trading off some of that half geek/half goddess characterisation she developed on TV's The Newsroom, but I was really pleased and surprised to see some good characterisation in the film's smaller, supporting roles, most notably in single mom and the glue that holds the office together Allison played by Vanessa Bayer. 

But overall, the script definitely needed one more draft to pull all these promising aspects together to produce the film this really ought to have been. But hey, it's Christmas, so here's a generous three out of five stars for effort.

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