Gini’s Christmas Classics | Office Christmas Party

The Two Gay Geeks and our Staff are taking a much needed break from Thanksgiving through the end of the year. But, we still wanted to have content for you to read during that time. As such we got busy and watched all of our favorite holiday videos. Some are classics and others are off-beat and loosely associated with the holidays. We hope you enjoy our offerings and that you holiday season is safe, sane, and satisfying.
 

Office Christmas Party


By Gini Koch

As with The Man Who Invented Christmas, this movie isn’t all that old – it came out in 2016. And while it’s not going to beat out Scrooged, Elf, or Bad Santa for Christmas’ funniest adult comedy, it does manage to hold its own. And it really showcases one thing: Jennifer Aniston makes an exceptionally good villain.

In Office Christmas Party, she plays Carol Vanstone, the older sister of Clay (T.J. Miller) with a heavy case of sibling rivalry. Their father’s dead, Carol’s gunning to be CEO of his data corporation, Xenotech (competing with Dell and other big names), while Clay was given the branch their father ran and loved.

Dad was out of the old IBM playbook – someone who cared about his employees and treated them like family. However, Carol and the Board are out of today, and she’s come to Chicago to happily and vindictively tell her brother that she’s going to shut down his branch and fire everyone – two days before Christmas.

The heads of IT, Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) and Tracey Hughes (Olivia Munn) are therefore trying to come up with a brilliant move to save the company. Tracey’s been working on an idea for 4 years that would mean you get the internet from any power source, including a light bulb (don’t ask, just roll with it) but it’s not ready yet.

So, in order to land their make or break in two days client, Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) and his $14 million dollar account, they decide to throw the party of all parties in order to show him that they’re not the same as the other corporations – soulless money crunchers who couldn’t care less about the people they’re laying off to make their quarterly numbers – but that they’re family. Fun family.

The movie is more about Josh, however. His divorce is final and we’re following him the most. He’s a typical guy out of the Bateman Playbook: your normal, decent Everyguy who’s the glue that holds this large group of employees together. That it’s the Chief Technical Officer who’s the personable guy who knows everyone and is the level head who’s able to interact smoothly with anyone and any personality type is, frankly, the movie’s funniest bit, even though no one laughs about this. (Other than me, the whole way through, but to myself. Every time.)

Josh and Tracey have unresolved romantic issues. Frankly, this movie, for all it’s definitely hard R nudity (we see boobs, butts, AND, in a refreshing display of actual equal opportunity, penises), drug use (toking and blow), sex (in the background and discussed a lot, since we have a prostitute and her hilarious pimp as supporting characters), and slapstick violence (the Three Stooges have nothing on this party), the movie is, at its core, incredibly sweet.

Clay believes in his father’s ideals – that his employees are his family, and he’s put his money where his mouth is. Josh wants to take care of these people, too. Most of the characters are sweet people who are a little odd and a lot lonely. Of course, we have Carol, covering the mean, and there are some nasty guys who get their comeuppance. But even with that, a huge number of romances are created by the movie’s end, and even Carol has a Scrooge-reversal along the way.
Is it predictable? Of course it is, though there are a few surprises. But since there are no new stories under the sun, the question isn’t if the beats are all hit, but how they’re hit. Office Christmas Party hits all the beats and hits them well, with more laughs than you’d expect.

Despite Bateman, Munn, and Aniston all having great comedic chops, the supporting characters are where the real humor comes from. And make no mistake, in this movie, the main star is Bateman, and everyone else is supporting. But what support. It’s like Animal House only for this day and age in terms of amazing casting. Kate McKinnon (fantastic as always), Rob Corddry, Jillian Bell, Randall Park, Karan Soni, and Vanessa Bayer are just a few of the supporting cast, and they’re all hilarious. This is a cast that was allowed to improvise, and we get outtakes at the start of the credits which are totally worth waiting for.

Should this movie be something you watch over and over again, since that’s what Christmas movies are all about? Well, do you like to laugh over and over again? I do, and while I honestly didn’t expect to enjoy this movie, I did. I laughed all the way though and I was happier when the movie was over than I’d been before I’d watched it. That’s what a comedy is supposed to do – make you laugh and make you happy – and Office Christmas Party delivers.

If you’re looking for laughs this holiday season and you want a movie that will still make you feel that there are good people out there doing their best and succeeding, Office Christmas Party is worth adding to your Christmas rotation.


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