The new comedy movie “Office Christmas Party” starts off in an interesting way. Jason Bateman is in his divorce lawyers office and during their meeting, there are several comments suggesting that his financial life, which consists of many years of hard work, will never be the same. He makes a comment, “It’s only money”, which is a comment that for me, always makes me nauseous. At the end of their meeting, the lawyer mentions his final bill which is in the stack of papers Batement is holding. Trying to make something as life changing as a bitterly contested divorce funny at the start of a comedy movie is challenging, to say the least, as there is nothing funny about the idea of financial ruin just because you married the wrong person or the marriage just didn’t work out. My opinion is that this first scene was a bad way to start any comedy film, even if you have never been financially ruined by a divorce.
The idea of an office Christmas party as the central theme of a movie, either dramatic or comedy is a great one. I remember thinking, why didn’t someone think of this idea before and this could be a great idea for a dramatic movie as well, considering the complexity of office politics. For the most part, this movie could be considered an opportunity lost because although the idea behind this film is great, the screenplay and ultimately the movie missed too many opportunities to be funny enough to make the entire premise work for the whole two hours. There are many famous actors in this movie, along with Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, Jennifer Aniston, T.J. Miller and most importantly Kate McKinnon, who in my opinion completely steals this movie.
Kate McKinnon is one of those rare comedic talents that comes around once every 25 or so years. Currently, McKinnon is saving Saturday Night Live as the most talented performer on that show, but she has still not found a movie where she could be the star to showcase her many comedic talents. McKinnon is so naturally comedically talented that she can get away with saying or doing nothing in any scene because of her eyes. She is one of the very few television or movie actors in the last 50 years who can make you laugh just because of her funny eyes. Johnny Carson has this rare ability, so did John Candy as does Will Farrell and even Chelsea Handler. This ability to make people laugh just from one subtle look is extremely rare and should be celebrated by everyone who appreciates what is truly funny. There are several scenes in this movie where McKinnon either steals or rescues a moment that would not have worked without her talents. Unfortunately, her presence was not enough to save this movie as I only give it a very marginal recommendation. I liked the technical thread of the internet company, which was inherited by Jennifer Aniston and T.J. Miller and how it tied into the insane ending, but other than that, the movie was not original enough or funny enough to give it any more than a marginal thumbs up, that I only give this film because of McKinnon.