In Office Christmas Party, when the CEO (Jennifer Aniston) tries to close her hard-partying brother’s branch, he (T.J. Miller) and his Chief Technical Officer (Jason Bateman) must rally their co-workers and host an epic office Christmas party in an effort to impress a potential client and close a sale that will save their jobs.
The latest comedy from directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory) co-stars Kate McKinnon, Olivia Munn, Jillian Bell, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Sam Richardson, Jamie Chung, and Courtney B. Vance in the funniest movie of the holiday season.
Once upon a time, the office Christmas party was a highly anticipated tradition, an epic night of drinking and festivities that blurred the line between co-worker and friend, employer and employee.
Since the fallout from the night’s unbridled events frequently lead to countless hangovers, lawsuits, and weeks of awkward apologies, overzealous HR departments spent decades reigning in the wild and raucous office Christmas ragers until the once legendary celebrations evolved into the staid, polite and family friendly affairs we know today as “Holiday” Parties.
“The office Christmas party is really a throwback to a less civilized time. It’s like the dire wolf skeleton you see at the La Brea Tar Pits,” says Producer Scott Stuber. “The “Holiday” party today is like a house-broken pug… it’s not going to hurt anyone, and it plays well with children, but somewhere, deep down it still has that dire wolf DNA.”
“An office Christmas party isn’t a religious celebration,” argues T. J. Miller, who plays Zenotek’s Chicago Branch President Clay Vanstone. “It’s a celebration of letting go and not being afraid to tell your boss what you really think without getting fired.”
Directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon were immediately drawn to the concept of a magical night where professional and social barriers were less defined. “There’s a universal wish fulfillment in having one night of the year where people live honestly, perhaps with some help from drugs and alcohol,” says Speck.
“The office Christmas party really breaks down the caste system,” says Gordon. “Suddenly everyone from the top of the food chain to the bottom is equalized and that makes for a great comedic jumping off point.”
The initial idea for the film came after a family member told Producer Guymon Casady about a decadent corporate Christmas party she had recently attended. “As she was regaling us with just the scale and the fun of it all, it occurred to me that a party like that would be the basis for a great, R-rated comedy,” says Casady. “There’s a vicarious thrill to witness that kind of chaos contained in a movie. It can go completely off the rails but you don’t have to worry about the consequences or having to clean up in the morning.”
Despite the more fantastical elements of the story, the filmmakers approached the story in a grounded way.
“We wanted to see a team of people at its most dysfunctional,” Casady explains. “Then see how barriers break, alliances shift and people connect over the course of a night. The key was keeping the fun of a no-holds-barred Christmas celebration front and center while telling these interwoven stories of the various people in the office.”
“The party is the star of the film,” says Speck, “but that makes our characters that much more important. They have to be realistic, relatable people you’d want to spend a crazy night with. Parties aren’t any fun when you don’t know anybody.”
“We wanted each character to start with their feet on the ground,” says Gordon. “So as things get more and more ridiculous, you’re invested and along for the ride.”
Opening across the Philippines on Dec. 07, Office Christmas Party is distributed by United International Pictures through Columbia Pictures.