Orgies, tasers, duelling Christmas trees, gangsters, Jesus riding a reindeer, a little bit of heart and the iron throne… it can only be the riotous new yule-tide comedy Office Christmas Party from directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck that will satisfy audiences as they descend into a festive workplace chaos. Inspired by an SNL sketch, the jokes come thick and fast without a let-up in this quick-witted snowy adult treat of a movie. It’s reminiscent of Superbad and The Hangover in its style and mixture of conversational humour with big set pieces coming to us via a pumping soundtrack that often punctuates the comedy. Some of its best gags come out of nowhere whereas others can be telegraphed in a satisfying way as the night sinks into an odyssey of debauchery and mayhem like a modern social apocalypse that’s hilarious the entire duration.
The premise is simple and fun; a party for the ages must convince and woo Courtney B. Vance as a potential major client into agreeing to a contract that will save Jason Bateman and T. J Miller’s failing company from being shut down by the tough and short-tempered boss Jennifer Aniston with the livelihoods and bonuses of all the workers at stake. Performances all-round are on top form with Miller and especially Kate McKinnon (off her standout role in Ghostbusters) taking top marks with masterful subtlety and timing throughout. Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn bring level-headed characters to the madness as they try to save the business. The extra glue that holds it together are the great periphery characters played by the likes of Karan Soni, Sam Richardson and Jillian Bell who all bring a depth to their humour within the moments and screen time in which they’re allowed to shine. You also get to see Jennifer Aniston deal out an arm bar.
Office Christmas Party is a home-run as a piece of festive entertainment for grown-ups, delivering everything you’d want from a film like this. Through all its shock rudeness (3D printer?! say no more…) and shenanigans to subvert the typical idea of a ‘Christmas film’ it manages to fall comfortably into a feel-good tone following it’s action-packed finale with family at its core and plenty of Christmas spirit. Office Christmas Party is definitely going to be treasured for Christmases to come and watched before MANY MANY a Christmas party as it surely solidifies itself as an alternative classic for the festive season.