David Brent: Life On The Road

Dir: Ricky Gervais, 2016


I’ve never been a fan of David Brent, or his alter-ego Ricky Gervais. Or is it the other way around?

It doesn’t matter, really, as Brent isn’t a character, it’s Gervais in real life. They are one and the same.

Still trying to cling on to his fifteen minutes of fame, Brent is followed around by a documentary crew, like they did in The Office.

However, he is still pursuing his dream of becoming a rock star. Cashing in some of his private pensions, he forms a band (Forgone Conclusion (mark II)) and goes on tour in the UK trying to break through.

But, his band hate him and refuse to socialise, ostracising him and relegating Brent to his car while they ride on the tour bus.

What follows is a diary of failure, frustration and David’s social ineptness.

For me, Ricky Gervais is just a plain irritating and self-absorbed media personality which, in itself, is ironic as he doesn’t have a personality.

Billed as a comedy, David Brent: Life On The Road is devoid of any jokes that could cause guffaws, laughs, smirks or even a simple smile.

The humour is all about embarrassment for the viewer. It’s cringing, but, ultimately, not funny.

David Brent is a sad figure. A tragic character. There is so little self-esteem in him, married with a sense of self-loathing that he tries to mask it with over confidence but, deep down, he just wants to be liked and loved.

There is so little imagination in the plot, or Gervais’s, writing that the film is rendered as complete redundancy.

Whereas Gervais had Stephen Merchant to aid him in writing The Office, this is a totally solo effort and all he can do is rehash the characters from the series, but with different names and cast.

The film could be labelled a semi-musical, as there a number of original songs performed and all written by Ricky Gervais. Unfortunately, none of them are any good or catchy, or even so bad they’re good. Missing any semblance of anything that could be considered funny, this is Gervais using the film as a stepping stone to realise his ill-fated desire to be a “musical artist”, an effort he tried many years before with his forgotten band Seona Dancing.

The Office was greeted by acclaim, with both critics and viewers heaping praise on the series. Personally, I didn’t get it. I hated the show.

With this in mind, it isn’t, really, any surprise that I disliked the film, but every film deserves a chance and there was a small chance that I would enjoy it.

I can’t shake the feeling, that even fans of the precedeing show would find this a chore to sit through.

Disastrous, terrible and awful, David Brent: Life On The Road is a tour de force of crap, and self-indulgence brought on by a belief that he’s a comic genius, thanks to the adoration served to him by the media.


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