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

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