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Will Speck and Josh Gordon
Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Jennifer Aniston, TJ Miller
Writing Credits:
Justin Malen, Laura Solon, Dan Mazer

When his uptight CEO sister threatens to shut down his office, the branch manager throws an epic Christmas party in order to land a big client and save the day, but the party gets way out of hand.

Rated R/Unrated.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 105 min. (Theatrical)
110 min. (Unrated)
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/4/2017

• Both Theatrical and Unrated Cuts
• Audio Commentary with Directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck
• Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
• “Throwing An Office Christmas Party” Featurette
• DVD Copy


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Office Christmas Party [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 28, 2017)

A large ensemble cast comes to us in 2016’s bawdy comedy Office Christmas Party. Carol Vanstone (Jennifer Aniston) serves as CEO of an IT company called Zenotek, and she decides to close an underperforming branch.

One complication: her brother Clay (TJ Miller) runs this office, so familial tensions result. As a response to Carol’s actions, Clay and co-worker Josh Parker (Jason Bateman) connive to throw a massive office Christmas party to land an important client named Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance) and save their jobs. Unsurprisingly, this bash gets out of hand.

While we’ve seen skillions of Christmas movies over the decades, Hollywood tends to shy away from “R”-rated holiday efforts, and I get that. Given the cozy, sentimental tone most people want at that time of year, “R”-rated material doesn’t create a natural connection.

Even when we do get “R”-rated Christmas flicks, they often enjoy a tangential connection to the season. Efforts like Die Hard and Lethal Weapon take place around the holiday, but they don’t really embrace the yuletide theme.

A sub-genre relates to “R”-rated Christmas comedies, and that’s a fairly small group. 2003’s Bad Santa stands as probably the biggest hit of the bunch, and even it didn’t dazzle at the box office.

2016’s Bad Santa 2 bombed, and Party didn’t do all that great either. The movie nabbed a mediocre $114 million worldwide, which means it may have broken even on a $45 million budget, but that’s a tight margin.

Based on trailers, I thought Party looked fun, but mediocre reviews scared me away from it until I got this Blu-ray. Even with those lackluster notices, I still held out hope it’d entertain, mainly via the strong cast.

The actors manage to bolster Party and they give it whatever entertainment value it musters. Unfortunately, there’s only so much they can do, as a feeble and uncreative story hobbles the film.

Face it: we’ve seen plenty of “out of control party” movies in the past, and this one can’t bring anything new to the table. It churns up the usual form of debauchery and mayhem but never finds a way to make these scenes more than gratuitous.

Party also suffers from the aforementioned plot problems. It takes a flimsy premise and fails to develop it in a meaningful way.

Characters suffer because the movie does little to make them especially interesting. They start as and remain stock personalities without much to stand out from the crowd. Despite attempts at development and growth, nothing much manages to turn them into involving roles, and our lack of investment in the parts harms the movie.

Really, it’s the aimless feel of Party that becomes the biggest issue. Sure, it orients toward issues related to the potential closing of the office, but again, these choices feel half-hearted, as if they exist solely to motivate wild, crazed antics.

And that’s because the plot elements do occur just to push out debauchery – which might be more acceptable if these bawdy bits felt more original and inventive. Instead, they seem rote and come across like gags we’ve gotten from all those “nutty party” predecessors.

In the end, Office Christmas Party isn’t devoid of laughs, but it can’t become more than sporadically amusing. Though the actors give it their all and deliver occasional chuckles, they can’t rescue this slow, tedious comedy.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Office Christmas Party appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the movie looked attractive.

Sharpness was usually solid. A few wider shots showed a little softness, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the majority of the movie seemed accurate and concise. I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as I witnessed no specks, marks or other debris.

Colors were good. The series opted for a fairly teal and orange palette and the Blu-ray replicated these tones in an appealing manner. Black levels were appropriately deep, and shadows seemed clear and well-rendered. Across the board, the visuals proved to be pleasing.

The DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Party suited the story pretty well but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion.

It's a talky little movie for the most part so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary. Music broadened well, and effects occasionally used the spectrum in a satisfying way via elements like a car chase and general craziness. None of this made it a consistently active track, but it had its moments.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. Music was warm and distinctive, and effects also seemed realistic and more than adequate for the tasks at hand. All of this made the mix a solid “B”.

The Blu-ray brings us two versions of the film. In addition to the “R”-rated theatrical edition (1:45:21), we find an unrated cut (1:50:47).

How do the two differ? By my count, the unrated version adds 12 bits and pieces, virtually all of which extend existing scenes. These give us more partying and general silliness with a smidgen of character development for secondary parts.

In other words, we don’t get much of anything interesting. Some minor comedic bits appear and these work okay, though I can’t claim any of these make the unrated cut superior to the theatrical version. Both editions of the movie seem comparable, so don’t expect improvements from the longer one.

Alongside the theatrical cut, we get an audio commentary from directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon. They sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, music, editing, sets and locations, influences, and related areas.

Overall the directors offer a strong commentary. They maintain a good level of energy and touch on all the appropriate domains. Those factors allow this to become a brisk and involving take on the film.

Five Deleted Scenes fill a total of two minutes, 58 seconds. We get “Iron Throne” (0:21), “Jeremy on Santa’s Lap” (0:31), “Are You Feeling This?” (0:22), “Josh Gets the Specs” (0:31) and “Alternate Ending” (1:13).

These clips offer material not found in the extended unrated cut, which I appreciate. I’m glad they’re not redundant – though it still would’ve been nice to see the longer edition’s additions on their own as well.

As for the content of the five deleted scenes, four offer minor additions to secondary characters and seem mildly interesting at best. The “Alternate Ending” becomes more substantial and works fine.

We also find 13 Outtakes. These take up eight minutes, 38 seconds and show alternate line readings for a mix of sequences. Some funny material results in this enjoyable collection.

Throwing an Office Christmas Party lasts 11 minutes, 51 seconds and provides comments from Gordon, Speck, producers Daniel Rappaport, Scott Stuber and Guyman Casady, production designer Andrew Laws, and actors Jason Bateman, Karan Soni, TJ Miller, Rob Corddry, Jillian Bell, Jamie Chung, Jennifer Aniston, Randall Park, Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn, Courtney B. Vance, and Sam Richardson.

The show covers story and characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, and general areas. It becomes a fairly general overview with some nuggets of info but not much depth.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Party. It lacks any of the Blu-ray’s extras It also includes only the theatrical cut of the film.

Despite a strong cast, Office Christmas Party lacks a lot of comedic value. It comes with a messy narrative and fails to find much mirth in its random collection of bawdy shenanigans. The Blu-ray offers positive picture and audio as well as a set of supplements headlined by a very good commentary. Party isn’t a terrible movie but it disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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