Review of the week
Film: Office Christmas Party
Cast: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, JB Miller, Olivia Munn, Courtney B Vance
Directors: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Classification: 16 D L N S
Reviewer: Peter Feldman
A question…. why is it that as we get to the festive season Hollywood sees the need to churn out at least one horrible Christmas-themed comedy?
These projects ultimately fall flat because Hollywood’s idea of jollity and good cheer is to create a film that serves as a series of gross-out moments, slapstick humour with sexual connotations, and over-the-top escapades that do nothing for the reputations of the actors involved. A shining example of this is ‘Office Christmas Party’ which, despite having such draw-card names as Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston and Olivia Munn in the cast. is an unholy mess.
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, this alleged comedy caper is a lame-brain affair where the climax is a massive Christmas party where the participants set about to systematically destroy a building.
The paper-thin story concerns an uptight company executive Carol (Jennifer Aniston) who intends closing the high tech company’s Chicago branch after Christmas because of poor performance. It is being run into the ground by her brother Clay (T.J. Miller), a crazy, infantile individual whose life, it seems, is one big party. He is said to have “the mind of a drunk baby.”
In order to save the branch, and the hundreds of jobs with it, they must come up with a money-making fix. The chief technical officer Josh (Jason Bateman) puts his head together with super smart co-worker Tracey (Olivia Munn) to devise a plan to revolutionize the Internet.
Meanwhile, Clay in his wisdom decides to throw a massive Christmas party (against his sister’s wishes) to which they will invite a wealthy investor (Courtney B Vance), who will save them by buying into their revolutionary Internet invention.
It took no fewer than six writers to conceive this idiotic plot in which the party only takes off (so to speak) when someone unwittingly loads a snow machine with cocaine – and it’s all downhill from there on.
Minor sub-plots abound here and declarations of unbridled love from unexpected quarters filter through in a desperate attempt to give this insipid narrative some emotional thrust. A man dressed as Jesus sitting on a white horse and riding through the throng and another diving from the rafters into the melee and ending up in hospital are two images of a party gone terribly wrong.
The utter waste of talent in this production is unbelievable and I seriously wonder what drives players of the calibre of Bateman, Aniston, Vance and Munn to accept low-level assignments of this nature.
For many, the Festive Season is a time to shift the brain into neutral and to relax – and if this is your criteria then ‘Office Christmas Party’ may be just up
Other releases (synopsis only)
FILM: ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY
CAST: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk,Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker
DIRECTOR: Gareth Edwards
From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’, an all-new epic adventure.
In a time of conflict, a group of unlikely heroes band together on a mission to steal the plans to the Death Star, the Empire’s ultimate weapon of destruction.
This key event in the ‘Star Wars’ timeline brings together ordinary people who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves.