The trailers for Office Christmas Party did exactly what trailers are supposed to. It made the movie look like a raucous good time, worth the price of admission of time commitment. The problem is the trailers did so at the expense of most every funny bit in the movie.
The latest in a line of R-rated Christmas films that include A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas and The Night Before, Office Christmas Party may finally put the nail in the raunchy Christmas comedy genre. Maybe it’s just impossible to make a R-rated comedy focused on the holidays. Some of the best Christmas films can take place at any time of the year, yet are set during the holidays – looking at you, Die Hard, every Shane Black movie ever and even It’s A Wonderful Life. What sets those movies apart is they don’t need Christmas to exist; it simply adds substance to what was already a good film.
That’s the problem with Office Christmas Party. There’s so little to the thing. Its got a cookie-cutter plot (neer-do-well must save the company) but with a twist: the characters are throwing a party to save everybody’s jobs, but it’s a Christmas party! That will make the hi-jinks so much funnier and crazy!
No. No it does not.
It should be illegal to waste the talents of a cast that includes Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Olivia Munn, Kate McKinnon (one of the lone bright spots), Jennifer Aniston, Courtney B. Vance, Jillian Bell, Rob Corrdry, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park and Sam Richardson, yet co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck find a way. Then again, the duo couldn’t make the most of Will Ferrell as an ice skater in Blade of Glory, nor Bateman and Aniston in The Switch, so why would it be any different with Office Christmas Party?
Yes, there are great Christmas comedies that could only be set over the holidays, like Christmas Vacation, Scrooged and Elf, but none are R-rated. Apart from the great Trading Places, the only decent R-rated Christmas comedies outside of Night Before and Harold & Kumar is, what? The Denis Leary movie The Ref? Yikes.
Holding back some of the funnier bits of Office Christmas Party from the trailer would’ve added a few laughs, but it wouldn’t have made the movie any more enjoyable. It’d still be another R-rated Christmas movie that doesn’t make the grade. To fully enjoy Office Christmas Party, watch one of the R-rated trailers. It provides all of the decent bits, minus the commitment of a 105 minute run time.