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OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

SYNOPSIS: When CEO Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother's branch of the business, he (T.J. Miller) and his Chief Technical Officer (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.

Review by Louise Keller:
Inhibitions melt like snow in a sauna in this free-for-all Christmas meltdown in which jaded is the new cool. In the snowy chill of Chicago where chaos is at boiling point and excess is rife, it all works on its own terms - largely due to the fact that the characters (portrayed by a splendid cast) display elements to which we can relate. Of course everything is over the top: the exposition is concentrated insanity, replete with crude concepts and raucous fun. Ideal for a fun night out after a few drinks.

When Jennifer Aniston's hardheaded CEO Carol Vanstone arrives at the Chicago branch as the staff prepare for the mother of all Christmas parties, it is as though Grinch has donned a tight pencil skirt and walked through the doors to mutter Humbug. We have already met the key members of the staff and have an understanding of the inter-office politics and dynamics.

Jason Bateman is perfectly cast as the newly divorced technical section head who always plays it safe and keeps things on track - especially around his irrational fun-loving boss Clay (T.J. Miller, suitably crazy), who has a black belt in throwing parties. Bateman is the voice of reason throughout the pandemonium that follows. As for the clash of personality and styles of Aniston and Miller's characters - this is enhanced by the fact that they are siblings with personal issues. Watch for Olivia Munn, lovely as the smart systems engineer who has been developing a new internet product.

The office is awash with colourful motley characters, each with his/her own issues - like the politically correct HR manager (Kate McKinnon) who can't stop farting; Clay's foul-mouthed single mum assistant (Vanessa Bayer); the office accountant with kinky tendencies (Randall Park); gawky IT head (Karan Soni) who hires a 'Pretty Woman' escort to play his imaginary girlfriend; the psychopathic pimp (Jillian Bell); the tactless head of customer service ((Rob Corddry); the seemingly conservative bigwig company head (Courtney B. Vance) who wants to work with people he likes and more.

There are some sharp one-liners but the accent is on the visual when the party begins: the office looks like a lit up department store complete with unlimited supplies of silliness, booze and illicit substances. The addition of cocaine into the snow machine is a defining moment. My favourite line? Jennifer Aniston trying to buy an airline ticket: ‘I have enough miles to orbit the sun…’

It's all pretty silly but the script works, the characters are fun and I had a good time. What else can you ask for at an Office Christmas Party?

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY (MA15+)
(US, 2016)

CAST: Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston, Olivia Munn, Jason Bateman, T. J. Miller, Jamie Chung, Abbey Lee, Jillian Bell, Karan Soni, Sam Richardson

PRODUCER: Guymon Casady, Daniel Rappaport, Scott Stuber

DIRECTOR: Josh Gordon, Will Speck

SCRIPT: Timothy Dowling, Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jeff Cutter

EDITOR: Jeff Groth, Evan Henke

MUSIC: Theorore Shapiro

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew Laws

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: eOne

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 8, 2016







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