- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 11, 2017

“Blades of Glory” directors Josh Gordon’s and Will Speck’s holiday shindig film moves to the Blu-ray format in Office Christmas Party: Unrated (Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment, not rated, 111 minutes, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, $39.99).

Viewers will need help staying awake through the unrated cut (creeping up to the near two-hour mark) that first spends a nearly laughless 30 minutes setting up the premise.

Specifically, the Midwest branch of a tech company in Chicago run, by an eccentric boss (T.J. Miller), is about to get closed down by his spiteful CEO sister (Jennifer Aniston).

The owner and the CTO (Jason Bateman) devise a desperate plan to throw an impressive holiday office party to help land a high-profile client and save the firm.

Of course, the party gets out of control and let the bare threads of merriment and cheer begin.

What plays out is fairly clichéd and lame comedy injected with a standard supply of slapstick, f-bombs and raunch.

For example, by the 60-minute mark, viewers are exposed to oral sex with an ice sculpture, watching Jesus ride horseback, a cocaine-spewing snow machine, a windshield-fogging issue and some flatulence for good measure.

Survive to the 90-minute mark and get an Uber driver from hell, appreciate the 3-D printing of genitalia and watch the destruction of a Kia minivan.

The directors help prop up an anemic script by overloading the film with comedic talent, but it does not work.

Besides Mr. Bateman (“Arrested Development”), Miss Aniston (“Friends”) and Mr. Miller (“Silicon Valley”), the supporting ensemble cast, a current cadre of comic talent, includes: Sam Richardson (“Veep”); Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”); Vanessa Bayer (“Saturday Night Live”); Matt Walsh (“Veep”); Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat”); Olivia Munn (“The Daily Show”); Rob Corddry (“Ballers”); and Jillian Bell (“Idiotsitter”).

Once again, Miss McKinnon is stuck in a mediocre movie. She is always brilliant on “Saturday Night Live.” Somebody get this funny woman an agent.

Suffice it to report, “Office Christmas Party” won’t be making my yearly yuletide-viewing list. Efforts such as “The Night Before,” “Planes Trains and Automobiles” and “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” are much better choices.

Best extras: The directors sit down for an optional commentary track, only available on the theatrical cut, to dissect their work.

They offer a nonstop discussion on the production and cast while thankfully always aware of not diving into too much boring information.

The directors touch on topics such as Miss McKinnon’s colorful holiday-themed sweater; shooting at iconic locations in Chicago (Daley Plaza, Opera House, Chicago River and O’Hare Airport); not using a Prince song in the musical soundtrack; and those party-starting Sumo Snowman suits.

Only fans will really appreciate their effort.

The rest of the extras include almost 12 minutes of deleted scenes and alternate-dialogue takes as well as a 12-minute featurette on the making of the film. These extras are forgettable.


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