Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Alice in the subject line and tell me your favorite fantasy character. Don’t forget your address! (U.S. addresses only). I’ll pick a winner at random on December 15, 2016. Good luck!
Reminder: My policy on conflicts
In the mid-15th century, the royal House of Plantagenet had two rival groups that fought for control of the throne of England. On one side was the House of Lancaster, associated with a red rose, and on the other was the House of York, whose symbol was a white rose. There were many battles and conflicts, especially between 1455 and 1487. It continued until Henry Tudor of Lancaster became king and married Elizabeth of York, uniting the two factions.
Shakespeare’s plays about this conflict are coming to PBS this weekend as a second “Hollow Crown” series, this one called “War of the Roses.”
Believe is being held over for additional showings in selected theaters. The PG-rated faith-based Christmas story stars Ryan O’Quinn and Shawnee Smith.
Clay (Miller) runs the Chicago office of his late father’s software business. Well, “runs” is perhaps not quite the correct term. He more or less presides over it, in a benign but bro-ish way. The actual grown-up supervision is performed by Josh (Jason Bateman), a very responsible guy, but subdued following his divorce. And the actual productivity falls to Tracey (Olivia Munn), a coding genius.
Clay’s sister Carol (Jennifer Aniston) is the tough, smart, no-nonsense boss of the whole enterprise and she intended to shut down Clay’s all-nonsense, money-losing branch. She cancels the Christmas party and tells Clay everyone will be laid off unless he can land a $14 million new client, Walter Davis (Courtney B. Vance). Other characters in the office include Clay’s assistant Allison (“SNL’s” Vanessa Bayer), a single mom and sort of office mom, too, fussy HR head Mary (“SNL’s” Kate McKinnon), office complainer Jeremy (Rob Corddry), new hire Fred (Randall Park), and a manager named Nate (Karan Soni) whose staff is convinced he is lying about having a hot model girlfriend and has challenged him to bring her to the party.
You can guess where it goes from here, and you know whether that is your idea of fun or whether you’d prefer to stay home and re-watch “A Christmas Story” or whatever cinematic eggnog is on the Hallmark Channel. “Gets out of hand” does not begin to convey the extent of the very bad choices made by all involved, with intentional and unintentional abuse of substances, and — an update to the traditional photocopying of body parts — using a 3D printer for a full-size model. There’s a chase, some bad romance, some better romance, and a trip to the hospital. Jillian Bell, as always, is a highlight, essentially repeating her “22 Jump Street” role. This time, instead of a drug dealer, she’s a pimp.
Perhaps the best that can be said is that it is more fun than any actual office Christmas party.
Parents should know that this film is a very raunchy comedy with explicit sexual references, situations, and male and female nudity and kinkiness, crude language, drinking and drunkenness, drugs, and comic peril and violence with some injuries.
Family discussion: Would you want to work for Josh or Clay? Why was Carol jealous of Clay?
If you like this, try: “Old School” and “The Night Before”