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You might want to leave 'Office Christmas Party' early

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMDamian Levy
Hard-partying Clay (T.J. Miller) and his chief technical officer (Jason Bateman) must save the day with an epic ‘Office Christmas Party’.

For many people, the annual office Christmas party is a droll experience. No one really wants to be there, and it somehow turns the joyous event of Christmas, into a sad lonely affair. Office Christmas Party is for those people. It's an escapist fantasy that brings the reckless and wild goings on of Project X to the cubicle rebellion of Office Space.

The story follows the company of Xenotech. It doesn't really matter what the company does. All that matters is Clay, played by the irreverent TJ Miller, runs a failing branch of it. After his big sister Carol, played by Jennifer Aniston, threatens to shut down his business, Clay decides to throw the Christmas party to end all Christmas parties. He hopes that his efforts will win the interest of an investor, save his company, and the jobs of all his employees in the process.

Office Christmas Party does its job well. It has characters that fit the people you see in an everyday work environment, and it tries to put them in funny situations. Those situations can be low brow, like the HR person who uncontrollably farts in nervous situations, or they can be quite clever, with quips that play on the frustrations of office politics. With jokes that range from the silly to the cerebral, Office Christmas Party never loses its genuine voice, making it feel like in the writers' room, all jokes were created equal.

Unfortunately, it seems like Office Christmas Party had too many ideas in that room. Many a time in the movie, reference will be made to something happening at the party that is infinitely more interesting than watching Jason Bateman & co fumble around trying to arrange for their company to be saved. Truthfully, while the segments of the Christmas party you do see have some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments, the movie treats it as an afterthought rather than the main event.

To say that Office Christmas Party was a satisfying experience, is only a half-truth. While it definitely is firing on all cylinders, it doesn't always hit its target. It's definitely a movie enhanced by a cinema viewing with a big audience and it has enough in it to feel that the escapism it tries to deliver. Just don't be surprised if you end up wanting to leave the party early.