THERE’S NOTHING more depressing than a bad office Christmas party. The music is schmaltzy, the eggnog has a skin growing on it, and Walt from marketing starts getting reeeeal enthusiastic about getting you into the copy room. But a good office Christmas party gives everyone the chance to let their hair down, to show off a saucy side their buttoned-up workday personas don’t allow for. As evidenced by the title, Office Christmas Party is not a particularly imaginative movie, but it does place some incredibly charismatic TV actors in a new setting, giving them a chance to improvise and earn a hefty paycheck in the process.
Among the incredibly charismatic TV actors in question are Kate McKinnon (SNL), Courtney B. Vance (The People v. O.J. Simpson), T.J. Miller (Silicon Valley), Rob Corddry (Ballers), Sam Richardson (Veep), Jillian Bell (Workaholics), and Randall Park (Fresh Off the Boat), and to watch them all make hay during their shows’ off-seasons is, well, a lot more fun than it needed to be. The movie is barely pasted together by a perfunctory plot about an evil CEO (Jennifer Aniston) threatening to shut down the branch of a tech company. The officemates, led by Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn, need to land a big-fish client to save the day, and they attempt to do so by throwing a truly killer office Christmas bash.
To talk anymore about the plot would be paying it more mind than the movie does. Instead, Office Christmas Party rolls out joke after joke like an ever-patient Santa with a bottomless bag of toys—plenty of ’em don’t work, but only a Grinch wouldn’t crack a smile as the party devolves into expected chaos. McKinnon, as the office’s repressed HR rep, is an expected standout, but I was surprised by Aniston, whose unbelievably mean boss might be even funnier. You probably won’t want to talk about it the morning after, but this Office Christmas Party is a surprisingly fun time while it lasts.