This over-the-top party movies isn't without its pleasures -- particularly the cast -- but it's too predictable to be a blast, and unsettling violence overshadows the jokes. Office Christmas Party's premise goes down easily enough: Clay is a party-hard, hail-fellow-well-met type who runs his business sloppily, while Carol is pinched, repressed, and all business (though, of course, she also has a heart hiding somewhere, ready to grow, Grinchlike, three sizes before the credits roll). And the rest of the characters have their own movie-ready quirks. But of course, it's all just a prelude to this movie's real point: the party.
It's fairly amusing, as these things go. Vance's prim Walter gets a faceful of cocaine due to another character's mistake with a fake-snow blower, various coworkers get busy in offices and on rooftops, Miller dresses up like Santa and rides a sleigh down the office stairs, hapless middle manager Nate (Karan Soni) gets hooked up with a spooky female pimp. But the scenes of amusing-enough wasted-people comedy are interrupted by scenes of oddly out-of-place violence -- like when Walter tries to swing from the rooftop using strung Christmas lights and lands, after a 20-foot fall, on a filing cabinet with an awful thump. In another scene, coworkers in cars race to jump over a drawbridge to prove a point; both wind up slamming into barriers. Everyone's basically fine, but it sure didn't look fine. Scenes like that contribute to an uneven tone that makes ultimately this comedy not quite as much fun as you'd hope.