Image: Fox Searchlight Pictures
There are three cinematic masters in today’s reigning generation of directors, who each rarely ever fail to produce masterpiece after masterpiece. Along with Quentin Tarantino and Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson is one of those elite few who seem to just churn out brilliance without having to even try.
When the idiosyncratic director of Rushmore tackled stop-motion animation with 2009’s Fantastic Mr. Fox, he found his truest calling. In the wake of his Oscar-nominated Moonrise Kingdom and The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson has now returned to the same arena of animation and it’s a masterpiece even when stacked against his best.
Image: Paramount Pictures
For as long as there have been ensemble comedies, there have been wasted opportunities and over-talented casts. The litany of movies with fantastic groups of actors wasted on unoriginal scripts is littered with titles like It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, 200 Cigarettes, and Valentine’s Day.
When the script or direction fails on an ensemble comedy, more than a fair share of the workload falls onto the cast. Some movies, like This is the End or Hail, Caesar!, manage to stay just above water because of the actors alone, but a brilliant cast can only do so much — which is exactly Office Christmas Party‘s problem.
Jason Bateman, T.J. Miller, Olivia Munn, Courtney B. Vance, Kate McKinnon, Jennifer Aniston, Vanessa Bayer, Randall Park, Karan Soni, Rob Corddry, Sam Richardson, and Jillian Bell form the holiday comedy’s cast and deserve credit not just for doing more than their share to keep the party going but for sharing the spotlight like a true comedy team. It really makes you wish the writing were better.