Office Christmas Party Blu-ray Review
Every year there is at least one film released between Thanksgiving and Christmas that uses one of those holidays as the selling point of their story. It’s as if the studio thinks that people are so unsure about what to see the addition of the word “Christmas” or “Holiday” or “Christmas Holiday” will sway their vote when they buy their tickets. Television is no different, with the Hallmark channel running no less than 20 such films last year. Compared to Hallmark, the multiplexes paled in comparison as only three films hit theatres in 2016: ALMOST CHRISTMAS, BAD SANTA 2 and the current Blu-ray released OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY.
As the holidays approach, it’s time for the employees of Internet company Zenotek – Chicago branch – to prepare for the holiday festivities. Headed by the compassionate but childish Clay Vanstone (Miller), anything usually goes at the annual soiree’. Clay is joined in the leadership of the company by Chief Technical Officer Josh (Bateman), who is celebrating the holidays by having his divorce finalized. However, a giant lump of coal is put in their collective stockings when Carol, (Aniston), who is not only Clay’s sister but, since the death of their father, the current head of the company, arrives and not only decrees that there will be no Christmas party but, unless they can land a new client by the end of the day, there may not be a Chicago branch come January 1st. Hijinks ensue.
Funnier than most “themed” films, OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY relies a lot on its strong ensemble of actors, most of them having proven themselves over the years. I don’t know what it is about T.J. Miller but, with exception of the YOGI BEAR movie, I find him hard to take on film. It could be that I don’t find his stand-up work funny – he is to comedy what Charles Mason is to comedy – so I’m going to count it as a positive that he doesn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film. Bateman has made a very successful career out of playing the sweet yet funny guy and his work here is no different. His character is fun to listen to and his connection to co-worker (and work crush) Tracey (Olivia Munn) is fun to observe.
Also enjoyable is the usually stoic Courtney B. Vance in a true comedic performance as the client they need to close and Kate McKinnon as Mary, the Human Resources leader who spends her days monitoring the amount of cleavage exposed and night worrying about the way the “Egg Nog Luge” is designed. I don’t watch a lot of “Saturday Night Live” but, with last year’s GHOSTBUSTERS and this past week’s release ROUGH NIGHT I’ve really become fond of McKinnon. She pretty much stole the two films I named and is equally entertaining here.
As for the “Unrated” version, the original is pretty crude and raunchy on its own and the few bits added, though funny, don’t really add anything to the film content wise. Which means you just saved yourself 5 ½ minutes.
Video: The film is presented in its original 2.39:1 aspect ratio and,like many of the Holiday themed films is unusually dark, providing on the holiday lights to illuminate the indoor scenes.
Audio: The soundtrack is presented in DTS Master Audio 7.1 and is well mixed. The party scenes are particularly clear, with background/surrounding activities blending in with main dialogue.
Audio Commentary: Directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck give a fairly straight-ahead commentary detailing their ideas for the film from casting to locations. This is only available on the theatrical version.
Throwing an Office Christmas Party Featurette (11:51): Cast and crew discuss the various Holiday parties they had been a part of and how much of the party was one large improve session.
Outtakes (8:31): Exactly what it means, featuring the following scenes: Allison on the Phone with Ex; Bad Things About the Internet; Tim and Drew Make Fun of Nate; Nate’s Excuse; Allison Leaves Daycare; Jeremy Pees on the Roof; Hi, I’m Carol; Walter About to Jump; Clay’s Studies; Jeremy in the Bathroom; Trina Looks at Phone; Trina in the Car; and Clay in the Hospital.
Deleted Scenes (2:58): Additional scenes that they did not include in the UNRATED version. Included are Iron Throne, Jeremy on Santa’s Lap, Are You Feeling This?, Josh Gets Into Specs, and Alternate Ending. None of them are missed.