Plot: Clay (T.J. Miller) is not the most conventional boss, but he loves his employees and has surrounded himself with talented workers. Josh (Justin Bateman) is his right hand man and handles a lot of the technical aspects of the office, while Clay focuses on social elements and trying to keep his impulsive behavior under control. Clay’s branch has done well this year, but came up a little short of the growth goals, though the margin was so small, no real action is expected. But Clay’s sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) has arrived and is not pleased with the branch’s performance, so she cancels the Christmas party and orders massive cutbacks around the office. Clay is devastated, but he has one last chance to save his office, if he can land a massive new account. In order to dazzle the potential client, Clay throws an office party to end all office parties, but will it be enough to keep his branch alive?
Entertainment Value: Office Christmas Party is another installment in the “gone wild” genre, this time with office workers as the wild ones. As it turns out, this falls into most of the usual pitfalls of these kind of movies and in the end, just fails to come off as all that wild. The movie takes some fun turns, hauling in a prostitution ring, a mountain of cocaine, and a crowd of angered office workers, but it feels so tame, as if it were pulled back to keep things light. I wouldn’t have minded the lack of craziness if the movie had a band of colorful characters at the center, but Office Christmas Party once again plays it safe in that regard. This movie’s idea of wild, over the top characters include a woman who farts, a guy with a mom fetish, and a mild mannered office worker who hires an escort to be his date. So wild and out of control aren’t the words I’d use to describe this one, despite that being the entire premise. The movie is content to shoehorn in a rushed romance, family reconciliation, and feel good conclusion, all at the cost of fun, humor, and craziness. The cast is fine, much better than this material deserves, but it just feels like they’re being wasted in this one. I have no idea why the filmmakers wanted to keep things so tame here, but it seems like a missed opportunity. But some of the humor works and the cast is fun, so it isn’t a total loss. I just wish it pushed a little and took some risks, as the potential for wildness is here. In the end, this winds up as a middle of the road comedy, nothing more, nothing less.
I watched the unrated version, so perhaps the theatrical version was even more tame, but we do have a couple instances of nakedness. A man’s limp penis is seen as he walks to scan it in a 3D printer, while a few bare asses are visible in the same room, which is a hub for making copies or scans of body parts. A wild, cocaine fueled office party, but no real sleaze to be found. No blood. Some pratfalls and slapstick physical humor can be seen, but violence is limited to a pimp brandishing a gun, which is played for humor more than tension. The dialogue has some bright spots, but it is mostly minor laughs that you forget about five minutes later. With this cast, I expected much sharper writing, but instead the movie tries to lean on rapid fire profanity or sexual references, with no real jokes behind it. This is pretty lame, since I doubt anyone will be shocked by an F bomb, so why not go for real humor? Aside from the HR rep, the movie doesn’t even take advantage of office dynamics, another missed chance. So while some humor does land, it is all small scale laughs at best. This movie hinges on a wild, out of control party, but if you take out the profanity, this could be a PG-13 movie. Aside from trying to impress teens with f bombs and dick references, the movie does nothing to push the boundaries or ramp up the craziness.
Overall Insanity: 1/10