Critics Consensus

Office Christmas Party Spreads Moderate Yuletide Cheer

Plus, Jessica Chastain elevates Miss Sloane, and Nocturnal Animals and La La Land are Certified Fresh.

by | December 8, 2016 | Comments

This week at the movies, we have an office Christmas party (Office Christmas Party, starring Jason Bateman and T.J. Miller), a lobbyist in for the fight of her career (Miss Sloane, starring Jessica Chastain and Mark Strong), and a couple haunted by their ruined marriage (Nocturnal Animals, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal). What are the critics saying?


Office Christmas Party (2016) 40%

There’s a lot more to a great movie than a talented cast, but rounding up the right people to put in front of the camera definitely counts for a lot — and the folks behind Office Christmas Party got themselves a pretty good head start by assembling an ensemble that includes Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, T.J. Miller, Kate McKinnon, Rob Corddry, Vanessa Bayer, Olivia Munn, and Courtney B. Vance. You’d think putting that many funny people on a set and hatching a plot about an (ahem) office Christmas party would be enough to guarantee laughs, but alas, it isn’t that simple; instead of the raunchy yuletide gut-buster promised by the premise, reviews describe an unnecessarily busy tangle of storylines that’s punctuated by unoriginal gags and topped off with an awkwardly mawkish finale. All things considered, it still might be more entertaining than an actual office Christmas party — but we all know that isn’t necessarily saying much.


Miss Sloane (2016) 76%

Director John Madden gave Jessica Chastain one of her first big-screen breaks with a role in 2010’s The Debt, and they’re back together again with this weekend’s Miss Sloane. Although Chastain’s star has risen quite a bit since then, the duo still make a good pair — in fact, critics say Madden gets another stellar performance out of his star in this politically fueled drama about a Washington lobbyist who locks horns with the gun industry. It’s a good thing, too, because for all its narrative smarts, reviews describe Miss Sloane as a fairly flawed — and perhaps somewhat dated — look at the American political system whose successes largely stem from its leading lady’s powerful work. See it if you’re a fan or if you have a hankering for some (fictional) D.C. drama, but adjust your expectations accordingly.


Nocturnal Animals (2016) 74%

With 2009’s A Single Man, fashion designer Tom Ford made an Oscar-nominated entree into filmmaking — and raised the stakes considerably for his second effort. Happily, Nocturnal Animals mostly avoids falling prey to the sophomore jinx; although critics’ responses have run a bit more of a gamut than they did with A Single Man, this chilly look at a divorced couple (Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal) adds another acclaimed entry to Ford’s budding filmography. Animals‘ nested structure isn’t for everyone — the narrative threads viewers between reality and the story of the novel written by Gyllenhaal’s character — and it certainly isn’t a feel-good affair. But viewers in the mood for a sleekly assured drama don’t have far to look this weekend.


What’s New on TV

Shut Eye: Season 1 (2016) 37%

Shut Eye‘s solid cast isn’t enough to overcome an overdone, overstuffed, and undercooked story.


Also Opening This Week In Limited Release

Tag Cloud

screen actors guild 45 aliens Lucasfilm crime documentary Superheroes Interview Musical DGA Mudbound dramedy free movies spy thriller Pet Sematary teaser Disney Plus Reality YA period drama FX Discovery Channel A24 unscripted TV renewals USA thriller El Rey Grammys DC Universe south america Comedy Central zero dark thirty Polls and Games American Society of Cinematographers crossover Character Guide IFC Films The Witch 20th Century Fox Disney streaming service Cartoon Network cinemax TruTV supernatural Star Trek Rom-Com PaleyFest discovery CNN psycho psychological thriller OWN Anna Paquin TIFF Britbox war singing competition romance Premiere Dates FXX SDCC renewed TV shows composers latino First Reviews zombies MSNBC Trophy Talk YouTube Red TCA 2017 LGBTQ halloween Nat Geo travel Peacock politics television diversity Showtime Turner Classic Movies Sundance Awards USA Network ABC adventure Stephen King Tarantino GLAAD TNT Nickelodeon anime X-Men Esquire APB finale Western SXSW Television Academy Mindy Kaling strong female leads revenge zombie blaxploitation cars boxoffice History true crime spider-man YouTube vampires hispanic Thanksgiving Chilling Adventures of Sabrina game show Writers Guild of America green book Emmys DC Comics game of thrones batman series Avengers Family Watching Series NBC spinoff harry potter Red Carpet Awards Tour 2015 romantic comedy Creative Arts Emmys Cannes Rock canceled reboot movies toy story PBS Baby Yoda TV rotten movies we love Pride Month Mary Poppins Returns elevated horror Star Wars Apple TV+ Arrowverse Marathons dragons Reality Competition based on movie crime thriller Columbia Pictures technology historical drama MCU Pirates indie casting werewolf Food Network BET Fox News breaking bad adaptation Horror Vudu Brie Larson cats Trailer Marvel Studios TCM 2019 Ovation Marvel Television Holidays Sundance TV slashers RT21 miniseries cartoon 2017 Pop comiccon CMT Women's History Month screenings Hallmark Christmas movies doctor who The Walking Dead Sundance Now Infographic independent biography New York Comic Con TCA Winter 2020 streaming Biopics cooking quibi Crunchyroll sports Holiday Animation Spectrum Originals Captain marvel Mary poppins Countdown animated Tumblr Sony Pictures Tomatazos Netflix Christmas movies Super Bowl BBC GIFs Dark Horse Comics Ellie Kemper Quiz Teen Chernobyl Emmy Nominations binge anthology Mystery Toys versus Calendar Podcast foreign name the review MTV National Geographic Comedy sitcom Schedule justice league San Diego Comic-Con book Musicals Lifetime Marvel Summer Nominations Oscars tv talk DC streaming service theme song BBC America Action Box Office transformers Turner serial killer Freeform FOX LGBT SundanceTV blockbuster Drama CBS RT History First Look festivals Hallmark Photos 007 Epix Academy Awards Starz The CW CBS All Access joker cops Music Masterpiece cancelled TV series Kids & Family robots Amazon Prime Video cancelled television Fall TV Rocky Extras ratings ITV Walt Disney Pictures Superheroe Film Comic Book spanish language award winner ABC Family Universal Comics on TV sequel Heroines Hulu political drama cults Adult Swim Disney Spike golden globes Tubi richard e. Grant HBO ESPN jamie lee curtis GoT Year in Review 2016 TLC mockumentary TBS Film Festival facebook Amazon Prime The Arrangement canceled TV shows Valentine's Day 2018 Disney Channel Best and Worst Paramount Network Winners spain President Logo Pixar Lionsgate VICE DirecTV science fiction christmas movies Elton John Trivia medical drama Country Election Endgame IFC Song of Ice and Fire docudrama cancelled TV shows AMC Apple Sneak Peek hist Crackle Winter TV HBO Max Syfy Apple TV Plus nature Acorn TV WGN Ghostbusters E! children's TV natural history Bravo talk show police drama Martial Arts sag awards comics stand-up comedy space kids disaster cancelled social media Rocketman Classic Film Shudder Set visit what to watch NYCC See It Skip It TCA directors Spring TV Black Mirror crime drama A&E Christmas dceu Mary Tyler Moore Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Warner Bros. YouTube Premium 24 frames Paramount Binge Guide Cosplay Certified Fresh dc Netflix CW Seed 2020 Amazon Shondaland 21st Century Fox video Sci-Fi mutant ghosts Video Games The Purge VH1 OneApp WarnerMedia comic Fantasy witnail Opinion E3 Lifetime Christmas movies 71st Emmy Awards Disney+ Disney Plus TV Land