Office Christmas Party is a funny disappointment

CJ Housh

It’s nice to review a comedy after several weeks of films trying to be creative or edgy or focusing on spectacle. Nothing brings people together quite like laughter, right?

Office Christmas Party stars Jason Bateman as the Chief Technical Officer of a large internet company, who must come up with a plan to save his branch of a massive internet conglomerate when they fail to make fourth quarter projections. Obvious setting for comedy, right? Jennifer Aniston, the CEO, threatens to gut the branch and her brother, T.J. Miller, is afraid of losing the team of the branch he manages. The result is a raucous holiday party to impress the representative of a financial investor corporation.

What is this feeling? This feeling of warmth; of being exactly where I belong? Oh yes, hatred. I hate this film. It seems I’m cursed to review films written by the guys that made The Hangover. It takes a special level of effort to take a comedy concept like an office party gone crazy and royally ruin it.

Let me get something straight: you will laugh. The situation is funny, it just has all the substance of a Comedy Central standup special or a five-minute YouTube clip stretched into an endless 100 minutes.

The film just screams that the director let the actors go crazy, filmed funny people being funny, and tried to get every single spit take and improved joke into the running time. The film really suffers for it, as the humor isn’t timed like an orchestra but constant and cacophonous like dropping an orchestra down the stairs of the Empire State Building.

The setting is a strange choice, seeing as how internet provider companies are token representatives of soulless and unlikeable. It’s like setting a comedy in a Goldman-Sachs.

If you want one concrete example of why this film is bad it’s this: Kate McKinnon is cast as a no nonsense HR director who suffers under the yoke of the long running fart joke. Kate McKinnon is the valedictorian of 2016 comedy. You, directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck, gave her the freshman role?

Again, we have a film where the ending is bizarre and seems like the janitor accidently deleted the last fifth of the movie and rewrote it himself. The ending is so saccharin and happy and undeserved. Oh, and if you happen to get involved in a car chase and severely damage the infrastructure of the entire city of Chicago, you aren’t let off with a warning in any universe.

Office Christmas Party is playing Thursday, Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. at Phelps Theater, free to students, guests, and the community. If you liked The Hangover, you’ll probably like this. If you liked The Hangover II you’ll like it. If you stayed awake long enough through The Hangover III to see the end you’ll definitely like it.