Upon watching the trailer from Josh Gordon's "Office Christmas Party", once you see Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston, your immediate thoughts are thumbs up! After all they were hilarious in "Horrible Bosses" and maybe Aniston will be a bad girl, a role she seems to relish playing.


Toss in funnyman T.J. Miller ("Our Idiot Brother", "Yogi Bear") and comedian Rob Coddry ("Hot Tub Time Machine", "Warm Bodies") and it seems like you'd be in for a laugh fest! Right?


That is only partially correct. Do not expect the tremendous and plausible humor from "Horrible Bosses". Instead, the film takes an immediately left into the sophomoric hijinks of an adolescent house party movie.

Staged in Chicago, which is always funny when they portray various buildings totally differently from their actual use, Miller is Clay Vanstone, the branch director of a computer software company that is underperforming. He is one of the heirs of the company, so performance is not a big deal to him - keeping the employees happy is his biggest concern.


Unfortunately, his big sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) is the new CEO of the company and has plans to close his branch - mainly out of spite, but also because it is underperforming. The spite is because she always wanted that branch and their father decided to give it to Clay.


To save the branch, Clay comes up with an idea to amp-up the annual Christmas party and invite a hard to sell client (Courtney Vance) to attend. The idea is that the client will have such a good time he will throw them a $14 million contract. It is a contract that two code developers Josh and Tracely (Bateman and Olivia Munn) feel the company could service, though Tracey has loftier goals.

Carol gives Clay a 72 hour window to close the deal or she closes the office; but she also forbids the party. Obviously, the party will go on and it will be one giant fiasco with everyone in the city invited.


A subplot develops with a nerdy programmer (Karan Soni) bragging about his pretend hot model girlfriend and inviting a prostitute (Abbey Lee) to the party to play the role. The prostitute actually is one of the funnier characters as she turns the party into her own personal profit center for vice services.


Unfortunately, Gordon and co-director Will Speck don't leave well enough alone and add in another subplot with the prostitutes pimp looking to kidnap Clay to grab his money. It adds another 15-minutes to the 90-minute run-time that would have sufficed.


Sadly there is little difference between this and one of Seth Rogen's tear-the-house-down films, like "This is The End" or Adam Sandler's "Grown Ups". There seems to be a trend in movie's that adults can throw a distroy the world type party, just like the kids do.


Bateman and Munn hold their own as the straight people surrounded by clowns while Aniston is only okay as the mean sister; she could have used some of the sexy/nasty persona from "Horrible Bosses" to pump up her character.


"Office Christmas Party" isn't totally awful and will probably appeal to the same audience that finds every other film about absurdly destructive parties. A couple of good laughs, then the same old stuff.   -- GEOFF BURTON