“Office Christmas Party” is the funniest movie I have seen since “Bridesmaids” first rolled into town. It has all the nudity and crudity comedies are required to have these days, but it also has that something extra – its laugh out loud funny. Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn, T. J. Miller, Kate McKinnon and Courtney B. Vance head up a cast of actors who know how to get the most out of any line or any situation. Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer have created a screenplay that gives them a lot of room to exercise their talent.
The plot finds CEO Carol Vanstone (Aniston) ready to pull the plug on brother Clay (Miller) and his staff at a branch of the company in Chicago. Employees Josh and Tracey (Bateman and Munn) come up with an idea to raise revenue by landing business from Walter Davis (Vance). To show him what a great group of people work at this branch Clay and friends decide to throw a huge Christmas party, something Carol has said a definite NO to.
The party is the focus of the film and it is a raucous one. This is where we get the drug and alcohol use, the graphic nudity and the irreverence. This is also where we get laugh after laugh after laugh primarily thanks to Mary, the human resources head (McKinnon).
This is also the best comedic role Aniston has had since “Friends.” Carol is a part no one else could play. It requires the actress to be hated and humiliated,while projecting evilness and warmth. Aniston dishes the dirt with ferocious glee and yet never fails to let us know she is a good person at heart.
The other cornerstone of the movie is Bateman. He is mister warm and fuzzy from the start and just gets more likable with every scene. He is the big brother to Clay, the potential lover to Tracy, the timid adversary to Carol, and the boss to Mary. He is everywhere and Everyman.
There are scores of other actors, too numerous to mention, who add just the right touch to every scene. There is not one false note on view. Minor subplots fit in just perfectly with the overall story, and when it is all over you have made a new bunch of friends.
In the true spirit of the holiday season this movie is naughty and nice. Some may be offended by the crudeness of the humor but there is a equal balance of endearing and touching material to counter it. You will enjoy the story, laugh at the jokes, and come away with a renewed appreciation for the awesomeness that is Kate McKinnon.
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Director: Speck and Gordon