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'Office Christmas Party' spreads yuletide schlock
Whats in with Justin
office party
Things get out of hand at the "Office Christmas Party," but that's not enough to save the movie. - photo by Studio photo

First it was "Almost Christmas." Then it was "Bad Santa 2." Now "Office Christmas Party" has completed the holiday trifecta of mediocre yuletide schlock.

It stars Jason Bateman as a manager in a huge firm in Chicago. He’s recently divorced and he’s just learned that his company has failed to meet its standard quotas. That means there will be a series of downsizing for a good number of employees. He’s delivered this news by his CEO (Jennifer Aniston), a boss who seems to have went to the same college of bossing as Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada."

Their only hope of keeping the business alive is to recruit an account from a wealthy financial giant (Courtney B. Vance). They go about it by throwing a huge party, even though Aniston believes it’s completely pointless.

Once they get their party on, the employees think of every way to impress their new client, but apparently guzzling down too much eggnog gets in the way. There are some scenes of inspired lunacy, but nothing ever really reaches escaped velocity.

Don’t even get me started on a scene involving a fountain that produces eggnog or how different employees think of unique ways to use the copier, or even how "Deadpool" star T.J. Miller tries to emulate a chase scene straight out of the "Fast and Furious" movies.

Those scenes do have some funny moments, but the script never allows the movie’s actors to bust loose and fly with the premise. The rest of the time it wanders aimlessly into being predictable, especially during the climax. Skip this party and focus on more of your own Christmas shopping instead.

Grade: C

Rated R for crude sexual content and language throughout, drug use and graphic nudity.

Hall is a syndicated columnist in South Georgia.

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