Office Christmas Party Blu-ray Review
No, not THAT Office, but also, surprisingly, not that bad.
Movies reviewSRP: £14.99
The generically-titled Office Christmas Party is actually surprisingly not awful, blending the usual inane gags with some effective physical comedy and enough pop culture references to make your head spin.Taking the simple premise of a faltering branch of a company, about to get closed down, who see their own chance of survival in the closing of a multi-million dollar contract, and their only way to do so through giving the interested party a blow-out night they won't forget, Office Christmas Party is basically an elaborate excuse for an extended Christmas Party scene, with employers and clients embarrassing themselves with wild abandon. There's just enough setup with the characters - giving them a little heart and depth - and just enough motivation for the ensuing debauchery, allowing cast to let loose in this ensemble event without feeling like little more than a series of strung-together vignettes.The well-chosen cast include stalwart Jason Bateman, the backbone to a company frivolously run by T.J. Miller's manic brother, whilst his sister, played by a killjoy Jennifer Aniston, seeks to shut him down. Olivia Munn is the brains behind the scenes, sharing some nicely developed chemistry with Bateman, and it's those two that keep things on the fairly straight-and-narrow, whilst everybody else goes full tilt. Of course there's plenty of R-rated humour, playing up the immature component, but the additional, slightly surreal moments are diverting, and the pop culture references keep things light and relevant. It could have been far worse, and is often surprisingly fun.
Picture QualityChristmas Office Party comes to Region B-locked UK Blu-ray courtesy of Entertainment One, who deliver the digitally-shot feature with a strong and competent 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.39:1 widescreen.
A very good presentation but unlikely to ever make for demo material
Detail is mostly very good indeed, with decent observations of facial textures, clothing weaves and background elements, although it does vary depending on set or lighting conditions, with some of the earlier sequences faltering slightly before the image settles. The colour scheme is curious too, but that appears to be a stylistic choice, with the cold, bland initial exteriors eventually paving way to more energetic and colourful party interiors, both in the daylight setup and the subsequent nighttime debauchery. Black levels try to keep up with the different hues of party lighting and remain reasonably strong but far from perfect and overall it is a very good presentation even if it's unlikely to ever make for demo material.
Sound QualityThe disc's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is a surprisingly effective and boisterous accompaniment to the feature, delivering an engaging, atmospheric display of office frivolity, complete with a pumping score kicking off in the background.
A boisterous aural accompaniment
Dialogue rises above even the DJ's best efforts, remaining firmly prioritised throughout the piece; clear, coherent and largely directed from the frontal array. Effects are mostly atmospheric, helping create the right ambience for the extended party that dominates the proceedings, affording a bustling heaving grand scale to the affair, with the score remaining derivative but perfectly (technically) acceptable, whilst the song tracks allow a little more resonance and diversion in the mix, giving it a boisterous edge. It's a strong enough offering, perhaps even a little better than you might expect for this kind of release.
ExtrasAside from the the 105 minute Theatrical Cut, we also get a 110 minute Extended Cut, as well as a strong salvo of extra features headlined by a Commentary by the Directors, with a further 11 minute Behind the Scenes Featurette, a couple of minutes of Deleted Scenes and a more amusing 9 minutes of Outtakes to round out the disc.
Blu-ray VerdictIt could have been far worse, and is often surprisingly fun
The Region B-locked UK Blu-ray release of Office Christmas Party offers up strong video and audio and a decent enough selection of extra features, making this a very good release for fans. It's worth checking out for those interested and is far better than the title suggests.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £14.99
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