After helming 2011 dramedy 50/50 and rom-com horror flick Warm Bodies (2013), Jonathan Levine returned last winter with The Night Before, that time veering toward a raunchier, big-laugh brand of comedy in hopes of scoring an adult-oriented holiday hit. Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt lent it the star power necessary to pique some interest, but the movie ultimately fell short by box office standards.
Enter Josh Gordon and Will Speck, the directing duo behind titles like Blades of Glory (2007) and The Switch (2010). Despite The Night Before’s lackluster reception, Gordon and Speck are attempting to up the ante with Office Christmas Party, an all-star stacked comedy about an after-work gathering turned drunken, debaucherous blowout. Jennifer Aniston stars as Carol Vanstone, a stringent CEO determined to close the company branch run by her hard-partying brother Clay (T.J. Miller). She grants him a last-ditch chance to hook a deep-pocketed potential client and save his job, which somehow translates into inviting him to their very professionally-questionable Christmas party.
As the film’s Dec. 9th release date looms, distributor Paramount Picture have been ramping up promotion. The studio recently released a string of clips and has now returned with Office Christmas Party’s third (and presumably final) trailer. This preview allots more screen time to the cast, teasing subplots for Ghostbusters standout Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live veteran Vanessa Bayer, and Deadpool’s Karan Soni. There’s also some obligatory holiday shout-outs, including a pair of fat, dancing snowmen, a fiery Christmas tree brawl, and a guy dressed like Jesus on a horse.
Thus far, Office Christmas Party looks promising, albeit a little cookie cutter. Grown-ups getting a little too loose has been a prevalent theme in the adult comedy sphere ever since The Hangover stole screens in 2009. The last two years alone have seen the release of like-minded projects such as The Overnight (2015), Sisters (2016), and Bad Moms (2016). They’re entertaining, to be sure, but vulgar jokes and drunken antics can only go so far—even in the hands of an A-list cast.
Office Christmas Party in particular will have to compete with Bad Santa 2, which has already been stumbling in theaters. Scathing reviews played a large part in Bad Santa’s downfall, and while Office Christmas Party has yet to suffer a similar fate, it hasn’t built much buzz, either. How it fares at the box office will depend how hungry audiences are for a light-but-familiar story.
Source: Paramount Pictures