Surprisingly, the plot for this film is more than just “yeah, these guys just party for 90 minutes,” as that’s pretty much what I was expecting this entire film to be. Thankfully, there’s actually a little bit of plot worked into it, centering on Josh Parker (Jason Bateman). He’s finally divorced after a year long separation, steadying into the single life. His boss and close friend Clay (T.J. Miller) is struggling to maintain their Internet Company, and Clay’s sister Carol (Jennifer Anniston) is threatening to shut them down. To keep the company afloat, they have to land a deal with a man named Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), and to win him over and show him what a great group of people they are, they throw a Christmas party in his honour. They invite him along, give him a tour and try to show him a good time.
Party movies can be very hit or miss. There are a few solid ones, such as Animal House or Suberbad, but there’s also more than a few not-so-good ones. I guess we could even consider Wolf of Wall Street a party movie to a degree, but for argument’s sake let’s just say it isn’t one. It’s a hard topic to nail, mostly because there’s not a lot you can really do with it. It’s just the actors having a super fun time with the events surrounding them getting more and more ridiculous, and it doesn’t always work. Office Christmas Party manages to make it work, at least in terms of plot. They’re not just throwing the world’s greatest party for the sake of a movie, and its increased ridiculousness is actually justified, which I liked. It doesn’t just get bigger and bigger for no apparent reason.
It doesn’t seem to know what sort of humour it’s going for, and I think that’s the biggest problem with this movie. It’s too indecisive on what it wants to be, trying to appeal to a few different audiences and not combining together any of it all that well. Standouts include the always likeable T.J. Miller and Jason Bateman, and even occasionally Olivia Munn, but not everyone is as consistent as they are. Jennifer Anniston has a few solid lines, but her character was extremely uninteresting, and a lot of the supporting cast, while occasionally providing us with some chuckle-worthy moments, is familiar and boring.