Friday, December 9, 2016

Office Christmas Party [2016]

MPAA (R)  CNS/USCCB (O) (2 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. Mulderig) review
Los Angeles Times (K. Walsh) review (S. Wloszczyna) review
AVClub (A.A. Dowd) review

Office Christmas Party [2016] (Josh Gordon and Will Speck, screenplay by Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer, story by Jon Lucas, Scott Moore and Timothy Dowling) is, obviously, NOT going to receive any Oscar Nominations.  It's not that kind of movie, it's not intended to be that kind of movie.  That said, what then is it intended to be?

The film continues in a surprisingly _long_ string of R-rated comedies about "grown-ups behaving badly."  But it's actually more complicated than that: It's part of a pretty impressive list of films about grown-ups finding themselves in any number of constraining circumstances who decide at some point in the story, early-or-late, to just say "WT..." and revolt against said constraints.  The list of films would include Bad Santa 1&2 [2003] [2016], Bad Grandpa [2013], Bad Teacher [2011], Horrible Bosses 1&2 [2011] [2014], Bridesmaids [2011]Ted 1 & 2 [2012] [2015], Movie 43 [2013], Neighbors 1 & 2 [2014] [2016], Bad Moms [2016].  Like their similarly R-rated romantic comedic cousins -- No Strings Attached [2011] or Friends with Benefits [2011] come to mind -- there's a "Wouldn't it be nice?" quality to them: Wouldn't it be nice to tell one's boss what one really thought of him / her?  Wouldn't it be nice to tell someone's bratty kid what one thought of him / her?  Wouldn't it be nice to just pitch some film (or idea) that's just completely insane and leave it to one's "higher ups" try to guess if one's actually serious about it?

So this film is about a random, relatively small family-owned tech-firm based in Chicago, constrained by market forces to be increasingly cut-throat, that decides to say "WT..." and throw one EPIC ... "Office Christmas Party" ... Why?  Arguably "to save the company" ;-) by impressing some purchasing agent from some fairly large potential buyer that unlike the bigger tech players in the field -- Dell, HP, etc -- THEY still "care about people," caring expressed here by ... partying.  

The premise here is not entirely bad.  Corporate culture can be mind-numbing / soul-killing.  It's just that the partying displayed becomes _so crude_ that there's no way that this film could be shown to ANYBODY but adults and even then with REAL ISSUES:  At one point in the film, the revelers are shown chugging some sort of a slurried alcoholic concoction through a rather engorged d... of a rather horny-looking ice-sculpture.  Honestly folks, WHO WOULD DO THAT?  Especially since even in the film, every other employee has his/her smart phone out, clicking photos of their coworkers doing this.   Try looking for another job after THAT gets posted on Facebook...

But then that's part of the point.  The film is sooo over-the-top that there's no way it could be taken seriously.  Still it's also sooo over-the-top that, as childish / sophomoric as it is, it can't possibly be shown to anyone under the 17 of the R rating and even then with serious reservations.

Still, honestly folks, it's often very funny ...

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