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Saturday, December 10, 2016

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY: Is This How Your Corporate Holiday Party Gets Down?

On the one hand, you want to roll your eyes at yet another raucous holiday movie filled with white people debauchery (cocaine, prostitution, etc). But on the other hand, if you've ever worked in a corporate office, with predominantly white, uptight people whose idea of fun may involve a line of coke and a ride to the hospital in an ambulance, then you'll probably appreciate OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

While its characters have the best of intentions, to save their company from its demise, they go about it in all the wrong ways. When idiot head honcho, Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller), who catapulted to the top of the ladder strictly due to nepotism--and who "majored in Canadian music theory and minored in Drake"--receives a warning from his overachieving Scrooge of a sister, Carol, (played by Jennifer Aniston) to boost earnings or she'll shut down the NYC office, he and his top staff Josh and Tracey (Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn) scramble to close a major business deal with big shot Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance). And they try to secure this at their way over-the-top annual holiday party alongside their asinine employees, which include the usual stereotypes you find in office films: the fetishizing Asian man (Randall Park), the sexy Asian woman (Jamie Chung), the stuffy white blonde who's a little too eager to remind you of each and every rule in the employee handbook (Kate McKinnon), the unapproachable woman, who in this case ends up being the brainiac of the bunch (Olivia Munn), the virginal Indian man (Karan Soni) who has to earn his employees' respect by hiring an escort for the evening, the black man who just so happens to moonlight as a hip-hop deejay, and the sex-starved single mom (Vanessa Bayer). They literally stuffed everyone in this film. And it becomes an office holiday party version of The Hangover (except they remember everything, sadly). 

Yet, it makes sense--mostly because expectations are so low, but also because this is sadly indicative of how so many white male executives think of their staff-- in terms of banal stereotypes like the hot one," the nerd," the single mom." There's no consideration of the employees beyond that.

But I'd be lying if I didn't admit that OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY is ridiculously entertaining, once I shut my mind off completely and just enjoy the punchlines from everyone in the cast (Bateman and McKinnon are the standouts, as per usual). Maybe it's because of all the depressing news we've been inundated with these last few weeks or because it is in fact the holidays and we are in dire need to see something lighthearted and, frankly, stupid right now, but this is temporarily satisfying. I guess that's all we can ask for this moment. 

Rating: C- (** out of *****)


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