Blu-ray Review Comedy

'Office Christmas Party' Blu-ray Review: Mildly funnier, but just as awkward as its festive namesake

April 3, 2017Ben MK

If you're like most people, there's one festive tradition that's both anticipated and dreaded — the annual office Christmas party. Thankfully, for those who would rather live vicariously, there's the aptly titled Office Christmas Party, a movie that depicts the ultimate workplace rager, multi-denominational holiday sweaters and all.

The premise is simple: T.J. Miller plays Clay Vanstone, the well-meaning but simple-minded President of the Chicago branch of a company called Zenotek, where he oversees a staff that includes Chief Technical Officer Josh (Jason Bateman), Lead Systems Engineer Tracey (Olivia Munn) and HR Manager Mary (Kate McKinnon). Clay's sister, Carol (Jennifer Aniston), on the other hand, isn't quite as jolly; and as the company's interim CEO, it's her job to make the tough business decisions, like shutting down her brother's entire office when they don't meet Zenotek's bottom line.

Of course, Clay and his fed-up and mostly underappreciated work force aren't ones to take this lying down, and if they're going to go out, then they'll definitely do so with a bang. Cue the Christmas carnage, as directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck assemble an impressive list of comedic talent to round out the cast, including Miller's Deadpool co-star, Karan Soni, The Interview's Randall Park, Hot Tub Time Machine's Rob Corddry, 22 Jump Street's Jillian Bell and Trainwreck's Vanessa Bayer. And like Trainwreck, there's even a minor appearance by an NBA superstar.

Yet, despite all the comedic firepower that Office Christmas Party packs, the film never quite seems to find its footing, a problem that's only exacerbated by the multiple narrative tangents that screenwriting trio Justin Malen, Laura Solon and Dan Mazer veer off into. It's not so much an issue in the movie's sleepy first half, but during its latter portion, keeping track of some of the movie's converging plot points becomes almost as challenging as untangling a mess of Christmas lights that's been left forgotten in a box in your garage for the past year.

A comedy set largely in an office environment, Office Christmas Party doesn't quite bring the house down, visually speaking. Nonetheless, this 1080p Blu-ray presentation does a good job of faithfully recreating the experience of watching the film in the theater, thanks to ample image detail and robust coloring. The movie's sound design fares a bit better, thanks to sounds like that of a Christmas tree being toppled, boisterous dance music and rowdy crowds, all of which come through loud and clear on the disc's lively DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track.

Paramount's two-disc Blu-ray release includes both an Extended Cut and the original Theatrical Cut, an iTunes/UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD copy and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Commentary by Directors Josh Gordon & Will Speck - The pair talk about the cast and their performances, setting the film in Chicago, the production design, the gags, the music, the stunts and more.
  • Throwing an Office Christmas Party Featurette (11:51) - A look at the film's basic premise, its ensemble cast, the directing team of Speck and Gordon, filming in Chicago and Atlanta, the set design and more.
  • Outtakes (8:38) - Thirteen scenes ("Allison on the Phone with Ex," "Bad Things About the Internet," "Tim and Drew Make Fun of Nate," "Nate's Excuses," "Allison Leaves Daycare," "Jeremy Pees on the Roof," "Hi, I'm Carol," "Walter About to Jump," "Clay's Studies," "Jeremy in the Bathroom," "Trina Looks at Phone," "Trina in the Car" and "Clay in the Hospital").
  • Deleted Scenes (2:58) - Five scenes ("Iron Throne," "Jeremy on Santa's Lap," "Are You Feeling This?," "Josh Gets the Specs" and "Alternate Ending").

Office Christmas Party is available from Paramount Home Entertainment as of April 4th, 2017. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English, English SDH, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 1 Hr. 45 Mins. (Theatrical Cut) and 1 Hr. 51 Mins. (Extended Cut).

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on December 9th, 2016.

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