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Movie Review

Josh Parker isn't feeling the Christmas spirit. After being left virtually penniless in the wake of a brutal divorce, he finds out that the Chicago branch of the tech company he works for is about to be severely downsized.

Merry Christmas gang.

Josh's friend Clay is the branch manager. But while he's a great guy and all, someone who really cares for his staff, Clay's a lousy manger. He's got the focus of an 11-year-old and corporate sensibilities to match. And now that Clay's dragon lady CEO sis, Carol, has blown into town, well, some heads are gonna roll.

It's not like their branch of Zenotek isn't productive. Josh and his programming genius, Tracey, are on the verge of breaking something really big in the tech world. They just need a little more time.

The only chance of getting the margin to finish their project, though, requires a quick injection of cash. Like, what if they could close a $14 million account with a local company looking for tech support? What if they could sway dour business owner Walter Davis into giving them a contract instead of Dell? Given that hypothetical scenario, they'd be sleighing their way into a very happy New Year indeed.

But how to do that? What will show Mr. Davis that they're the company to partner with, the firm with fire, the biz with pizzazz.

It's against Josh's better judgement, but what if they threw … THE MOST INCREDIBLE OFFICE PARTY EVER TO BE SEEN BY THE EYES OF MAN!?!? They'll have everything from living manger scenes to gushing open bars to running reindeer to prostitutes. They'll have it all. It'll be an all-in, excessive night of frivolity and drunkenness to cheer up the employees and prove to Walter Davis that they're the group who can handle all his, uh, needs.

Yeah, that oughta work.

Positive Elements

Josh genuinely wants to help Clay save his employees' jobs. And Clay is willing to drain his trust fund to take care of those he supervises.

Spiritual Content

The movie's musical score often juxtaposes various Christmas carols, such as "O Holy Night" and "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," against scenes of wanton drunkenness, destruction and blasphemous mockery onscreen. A man obviously dressed as Jesus (complete with a crown of thorns to go with his long hair and robe) shows up at the party, for example, and he smugly tells someone, "It's my birthday." Later, he rides a horse through scenes of sexual debauchery. Elsewhere, a costumed Mary drinks a beer.

A company HR rep also named Mary wears a "multireligious" holiday sweater that depicts Christian, Jewish and Muslim characters. When Carol references the office Christmas party in a meeting, Mary corrects her, saying, "Oh, it's not a Christmas party. It's a nondenominational holiday mixer. More inclusive." She also says God would drive a Kia minivan. The camera spies a Jewish menorah on a pastry bar.

Clay asks God to make sure his party will be well received and then closes his prayer with, "Let's light this f---ing candle." Someone references God to Carol, and she retorts sarcastically, "Oh, her!"

Sexual Content

The movie begins with a some crude sexual quips and several women wearing closely fitting, cleavage-revealing outfits. Mary tells an employee with her shirt unbuttoned quite a ways down, "It's winter: Can we put Dancer and Prancer back in their stable?" But once the party kicks into gear it's a no-holds-barred and often no-clothes affair.

Two floors of a corporate building are crammed full of wild dancing people. Many of that inebriated number start stripping off their clothes to run around, make out, rub sensuously against each other and stick their genitals (with nothing covered) in a 3D copying machine. In fact, there are a number of people who leave absolutely nothing to the imagination as the camera drinks in the varied nude visuals.

Opposite- and same-sex couples are part of the randy mix. We see naked people having sex on table tops and in groups in bathroom stalls (in these instances, key anatomical parts are kept covered). After the majority of partiers finally disperse, some unconscious people are left naked and collapsed in various locations.

A man and woman make out while he starts reenacting a mother/baby fetish. At one point she pushes him away and suggests he hold off on that stuff until the fourth date, "like normal people." A guy hires an "escort" as his date, and she offers everything from cocaine to sexual favors to other partiers. Graffiti on a bathroom wall depicts incest and sodomy. We hear a reference to strippers. Josh joins a party game that involves drinking eggnog from an ice sculpture character's nether regions. Clay buys sex toys as company presents. Several main characters, including Josh and Tracey, kiss.

Violent Content

A man tries to swing off a balcony by a string of Christmas lights and painfully smashes face-first into a set of metal cabinets. People carry him away dripping blood, and we later see that he has knocked his front teeth out. Someone gets hit by a car. Another car ramps off a bridge to crash into a nearby building. The car's passengers are all battered and bloody.

During the party, the office area is literally torn apart and burned to rubble. Office equipment is shoved out of the high-rise building's windows. Drunken revelers square off in jousting contests with flaming Christmas trees.

Clay and Carol tend to physically wrestle each other to the ground when they argue. We find out that Carol has taken years of physical defense classes. She uses those skills to break bones and to subdue several large men. A female pimp waves a gun at people, including one guy whom she crudely threatens to shoot in the groin.

Crude or Profane Language

More than 50 f-words and 20 s-words pepper the dialogue. God's and Jesus' names are misused 10 times each (with God being combined with "d--n" three times). We also hear multiple uses of "h---" "a--," "d--n," "b--ch" and "b--tard." People use crude slang for male genitals.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Near the beginning of the film, Josh turns to his friend Clay and says, "Your mind is like a drunk baby." And, in fact, this whole film feels a little like that. The drunkenness—and the incredibly foolish choices connected to that inebriation—is rampant and overwhelming. People snort huge lines of coke and literally guzzle gallons of booze. Cocaine is put into a snow machine and blown out into the crowd. Partiers smoke marijuana joints and talk about the effects of pot edibles. And it's all depicted as just a slightly enhanced version of what otherwise normal people might do when they really let their hair down.

Other Negative Elements

Mary reports that she passes gas when she's nervous, and we see and hear her doing so at various points throughout the film. A guy drops his pants and urinates outside. Carol emotionally abuses a young girl.

Conclusion

When exactly did the typical Christmas movie transition from being something intended to warm the cockles of our hearts to being something that makes us want to pluck our eyes out? I'm not sure. But it feels like we've been wallowing in that disgusting, anti-Christmas shock-and-awe era for far too long.

Office Christmas Party is, quite simply, yet another entry in a long line of sleaze-in-your-stocking holiday forgettables. It does everything from mocking Jesus, to gagging on grog to dropping trou and waving genitals all about the tinsel-decorated environs. And the only thing that flows as freely as liquor and debauchery is the film's accompanying stream of harsh profanities.

It's not that the ensemble comedian cast isn't talented. They are, and some are even a bit likeable in isolated moments before the salacious shindig hits full stride. It's just that there is absolutely nothing for them to do here but run frantically around among a herd of boozed-up, buck-naked coworkers, all while trying to appear as if they might somehow be enjoying themselves in some zany way.

Now that's acting.

But not the kind worth paying to see.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Content Caution

Kids
Teens
Adults

Credits

Rating

R

Readability Age Range

Genre

Comedy

Author

Cast

Jason Bateman as Josh Parker; Jennifer Aniston as Carol Vanstone; T.J. Miller as Clay Vanstone; Olivia Munn as Tracey Hughes; Kate McKinnon as Mary; Courtney B. Vance as Walter Davis

Director

Josh Gordon ( )Will Speck ( )

Distributor

Paramount Pictures

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

In Theaters

December 9, 2016

On Video

April 4, 2017

Year Published

Awards

Reviewer

Bob Hoose

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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