Merry Hell: A Office Christmas Party review.

Directed by: Josh Gordon & Will Speck.

Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon, TJ Miller, Olivia Munn.

I was apprehensive of this film from its trailer, I was drawn by the comedic pedigree of the assembled cast, the likes of Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon, TJ Millar, Jennifer Aniston is quite a comedy ensemble but something still bugged me after seeing the trailer a few times, ‘I have a nagging feeling all the funny bits are in this trailer’ I mused, following the pattern of such films as the Hangover & Horrible Boss franchises. It can’t be that bad as that, can it?

Um, yeah, apparently it can. Crass, unfunny, cliched and about as enjoyable as an actual Office Christmas party, this is not a good film. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not above crude humour, however, the most important facet should be that it’s is actually funny in the first place. There are odd moments that may elicit a titter but they are quickly forgotten in the deluge of lame, badly judged gags, many of which that fall flat on their faces. This is really lowest common denominator, broad comedy.

The actually pretty decent comedic cast gamely plod through a script short on actual full on laughs, Jennifer Aniston looks embarrassed to be there and I think is becoming increasingly aware she is being typecast in this kind of movie and is pining for the halcyon days of Office Space where this kind of thing was actually funny. The same can be said of Jason Bateman, brilliant in Arrested Development, utterly wasted in this film. The two semi-decent performances in this film come from TJ Miller & Kate McKinnon respectively as they seem at least like they are actually trying, the films only laughs come from these two and even then the laughs are below par.
If you like loud, crass ‘party flicks’ like Project X, you’re probably going to love this film, if your idea of comedy is a man 3D printing his penis, yeah, this film is probably for you. If you have a modicum of discerning comedic taste, you’ll probably want to give it a miss. Lazy and cynical.

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