David Brent: Life on the Road (2016)
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jo Hart, Mandeep Dillon
Director: Ricky Gervais
Nutshell: Catching up with David Brent going on tour with his band Foregone Conclusion.
First up can I just start by saying how I loathed the American version of Office and couldn’t sit through even one complete episode. David Brent is Ricky Gervais, nobody else and it is with open arms that he can be welcomed back after a break of 12 years to our screens.
The film starts with the great man appearing in another TV reality show where the camera catches up with him and follows him around from his new office, not too dissimilar from Wernam Hogg in Slough. Brent hasn’t changed much, dropping king sized clangers whenever he opens his big mouth. We cringe in mortified horror at his endless faux pas, his horribly incorrect politics and his ability to offend absolutely everyone without ever meaning to. The man is a unique walking disaster with an ego that grows exponentially and without any credibility or reason. He has put together a new band and is set to take leave from his job as a sales rep at Lavichem and use all the money he can muster up in order to have another shot at the Rock n Roll stardom that eludes him. This time he is ready for the big time as has a bunch of inspired and inspiring new songs to take him and his band to dizzying new heights.
People who have followed the misfortunes of David Brent in the past know exactly how that endeavor is going to go! One unmitigated disaster after another and yet our Brent never gets too deflated until finally it all gets a little too much and the worlds most beloved loser finds himself heading down the same familiar sobering route to disaster.
The film may not be an improvement on the epic BBC series but to its immense credit it doesn’t disappoint for one second either and true Brent fans will be cackling and grimacing and cringing at his antics throughout the running time. Brent is bang on form and it s a joy once again to follow his inevitable demise all over again littered with pathos and human frailty that most of us share with him to a certain extent.
There are moments of jaw dropping screaming horrors, utterly hysterical leaving the audience howling and cringing simultaneously. Among them the night that Brent scores with some birds which doesn’t quite end up as glamorously as he might have hoped. One of his poignant new songs leaves audiences in utter shock and horror as he climbs into a touching rendition of “Don’t Make Fun of the Disableds” and his attempt at dancing sexily that has people reeling in stunned disbelief as well as his photo shoot and killing of Alexander O’Neil. All sublime and vintage Brent. Oh and the bit when he misfires with his T shirt shooting gun…..i could go on and on and on, the entire movie is littered with such gems, even remembering them brings tears of laughter in an instant. Very few movies and very few characters have the ability to have that effect, Spinal Tap being one and David Brent being the other.
Perhaps the movie may not win David Brent any new admirers in fact it is most unlikely to but the legions of people who worship and adore him will come away well satisfied with a huge smile on their faces. People expecting changes or a fresh perspective or reinvention of the David Brent band will come away disappointed and many a review has been lamenting the sameness of material as before but for true Brent fans, why change something if is not broken. It is as simple as that.
The film wont be taking home any Oscars but it is already easily the most wonderfully human, touching, ridiculous and beautiful experience at the movies all year and perhaps for many a year.Best of all David Brent is back and he is as blindingly cringe-worthy and charming as ever; the worlds most lovable loser.
It’s another triumph for Ricky Gervais who quite simply has to be one of the greatest comics of all time. David Brent; Life on the Road is an instant classic. One can only hope and pray the Americans don’t change it to suit their own tastes. American humour is different and great in doing its own thing, David Brent is quintessentially British and it’s the way he should remain.