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Blu-ray Review: Office Christmas Party

April 3, 2017 | By Herija Green | Comments (0)
Office Christmas PartyOHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

If you’ve worked at a company of any size you may have experienced the awkwardness that often comes when employees gather after hours, especially if alcohol is involved. Nowadays companies are wont to expose themselves (figuratively and literally) so things have been toned down, but directing duo Will Speck and Josh Gordon look to recapture the debauchery in Office Christmas Party.

THE PLOT

As the holidays approach, Zenotek’s Clay Vanstone (T.J. Miller), who runs the company’s Chicago branch, is lamenting the decay of the traditional office Christmas party. As he tries to think up ways to bring the spirit back, he’s visited by his sister, Carol (Jennifer Aniston), who is the interim CEO of the company their family built.

Based upon the office not meeting its quota, Carol threatens to close down the branch and orders the Christmas party cancelled. In an attempt to meet the quota and save the branch, Josh (Jason Bateman) says they can still land a big client, represented by Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance), that they’re having lunch with later that day.

At that lunch, Clay, Josh and Tracey (Olivia Munn) decide the only way to close the deal with Walter is to throw an extravagant office party and have Walter attend. With their futures on the line, the trio must try to put something together in a matter of hours to save the branch. What follows will live in office party lore until the end of time…

THE GOOD

There’s a lot of comedic talent here and plenty of quirky roles to showcase it. Rob Corddry, who is such a vital part of Ballers‘ success, is great as the salty office veteran that seems to find the downside of pretty much everything. Jillian Bell is a female pimp, and while she’s pretty much playing the same character she did in 22 Jump Street she’s still producing laughs. Karan Soni and Vanessa Bayer have good material in shorter stints.

With the film throwing just an incredible number of gags, jokes and completely random moments at you throughout there are going to be hits and misses. While we’d stop short of saying there are more hits than misses, there are a number of genuinely funny moments. Jennifer Aniston seems to be having a lot of fun in her bitchy role, and her interplay with T.J. Miller is some of the movie’s best stuff.

THE BAD

As good as the chemistry between Aniston and Miller is, Jason Bateman and Olivia Munn fall flat. They don’t feel like a would-be couple, and Munn just doesn’t come across as a hacker type. Bateman is wasted playing largely the “only guy in the room with a clue” role he had in Arrested Development minus that character’s own shortcomings.

We’ve seen Kate McKinnon do funny stuff on SNL. Hillary Clinton, Justin Bieber, Kellyanne Conway, Mrs. Rafferty and so on. She’s a funny person. And yet, she seems to be stuck playing the exact same character in every movie: the “woman who’s so socially awkward she makes everyone else feel awkward.” We’ve seen it in Ghostbusters, Masterminds and now here. Stop pigeonholing her!

Office Christmas Party is more a collection of over-the-top gags than a coherent story. Clearly there’s no rule that says a comedy has to make sense, but the film just throws so many things at the wall and sees what sticks. That leads to plenty of duds.

THE BONUS FEATURES

Easily the best part of the bonus materials is the outtakes as the cast ad-libs various scenes with randomly raunchy lines. It runs about 10 minutes and should generate some laughs. There are a few deleted scenes as well, though the best ones were already added to the unrated version of the film, leaving just a few unnecessary stragglers behind. A “making of” feature is standard stuff.

OVERALL

You’re bound to have some laughs at Office Christmas Party’s sophomoric, joke-a-second approach, but there’s simply not enough substance to make it a standout comedy.

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The Wire Troll: Sven Andrighetto Generating Avalanche of Offense

April 2, 2017 | By David Weightman | Comments Comments Off
Called up from the minors midway through the season, Weal has scored eight goals in just 20 games, including goals in each of the last four games, all of them wins for the Flyers. The team has moved him to the second line, and he is now on the second power play unit, which explains why his TOI has gone from 10 to nearly 17 minutes a game over the past few games. Weal has really delivered for the Flyers, and for our money he may have worked his way onto the team’s must-protect list for the upcoming expansion draft.
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The Wire Troll: Bismack Biyombo Getting a Bit More Burn in Orlando

April 1, 2017 | By RotoRob | Comments Comments Off
Hollis-Jefferson is on a roll, scoring at least 11 points in four straight games, putting up one double-double and three near misses. His PT is up, and he’s even contributing some blocks (four in the last three games). Three of Hollis-Jefferson’s five double-doubles this season occurred in March as he gets more action and establishes himself as a building block in Brooklyn. Pick him up in all formats to take advantage of his strong finish.
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Video Game Review: Everything

March 30, 2017 | By Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
In Everything, control everything you see (and don’t see) in this image. The butterfly effect is the idea that small changes can effect big changes (also a terrible horror movie), and DoubleFine’s Everything is a game built around that idea. There’s no narrative or direction, but Everything does have scope — from the biggest of the [...]
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Video Game Review: Old Time Hockey

March 28, 2017 | By Mike Chen | Comments Comments Off
If you’re comparing the actual on-ice play to EA’s version, the controls may be the same, but the response time is strangely sloppy and slow. Shooting feels off and collision detection is inconsistent at best. Passing is what you’d expect, except your players are hardly ever in the right spot for a breakout or a one-timer.
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