David Brent: Life on the Road

"Good"

David Brent: Life on the Road Review


The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and now 13 years later Ricky Gervais returns to his iconic character for a follow-up movie. Referring to the original series as a "BBC documentary", David Brent gets a camera crew to follow him as he makes a last-gasp attempt at achieving his dream of being a rock star. But instead of going on a reality show like everyone else, he hires a band and hits the road.

David is now working as a tampon salesman for a firm in Reading, with a chucklehead colleague (Tom Bennett) who gets all his jokes and a coworker (Jo Hartley) who has a soft spot for his idiocy. Now he has decided to take all of his holiday and cash in his retirement fund to reform his band Foregone Conclusion with session musicians as well as rising-star rapper Dom Johnson (Ben Bailey Smith). He hires a tour bus and heads off to a series of gigs in nearby towns, determined to embrace the rock-n-roll lifestyle. But without much promotion, the fans don't quite materialise. And there's tension within the band, mainly because they're all just here for the cash and are annoyed by David's antics.

Of course, everything David does is excruciating. The rambling introductions to his jaw-droppingly inappropriate songs are accompanied by grimaces from his bandmates and the audience. The music is actually quite good, while the lyrics are simply painful (Native American seems like the low point until he kicks into Please Don't Make Fun of the Disabled). David is the only person on screen who doesn't realise how appalling this is. And yet, since the film is written and directed by Gervais himself, there's a strange sense of irony at work here, as if Gervais himself would like to be a rock star, and is using this film as a chance to ignite a side career.

While Gervais merrily dives into all of David's misjudged humour, the cast around him has a great time reacting to him, and spurring him on. The script is careful to find a few characters who like him against all odds. The strongest side roles are for Bennett and Hartley, as well as Tom Basden as David's tour manager. These more realistic people help highlight the resonant central story of a middle-aged man having one final go at realising his personal dreams. The film is far too dry and awkward to say anything terribly meaningful about all of this, but fans of The Office will love catching up with their hero.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Life On The Road:



David Brent: Life on the Road

Facts and Figures

Genre: Comedy

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 19th August 2016

Distributed by: BBC Films

Production compaines: BBC Comedy

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Charlie Hanson

Starring: as David Brent, Rebecca Gethings as Miriam Clarke

Contactmusic


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