★★★★ – “A nice return to the life of David Brent.”
David Brent: Life on the Road is written & directed by Ricky Gervais and stars Ricky Gervais, Jo Hartley, Ben Bailey Smith and Tom Bennett.
A camera crew catches up with ‘The Office’ star, David Brent, as he pursues his lifelong dream of becoming a rockstar on the road.
Gervais’ comedic genius was firmly planted in toe-curlingly awkward situations back in 2001, with two very successful series and specials of The Office. ‘Life on the Road’ explores Brent’s life after the events of the show, and continues to spawn the incredibly hard-to-watch moments that Brent gets himself into. The scenes in the new office are perfectly written and performed, welcoming us back to the situational comedy that was so brilliantly crafted.
Unfortunately, once we leave the office the film slightly degrades into something more average than superior. However, this doesn’t mean there aren’t more hilarious scenes to follow, it just seems less consistent. I also thought that as the film moved into its final 15 minutes, it seemed like a bit of Derek had made its way into the character of Brent. That said, the heartfelt scenes were satisfying. It’s possible that without Merchant’s co-writing the screenplay wasn’t as great as it could have been, but wishful thinking is something I like to do without.
A lot of the band performances felt a little repetitive after a while, but they did include some funny moments. The music (also written by Gervais) is catchy and fun, adding a new dynamic that we only briefly heard in the original series.
All of the actors involved are extremely convincing and show great chemistry with Brent. I felt that some of the characters were underused, most notably Nigel (played by Tom Bennett), who was surprisingly delightful.
Overall, it was as I expected it to be and I am fairly pleased with how it turned out. It’s not as consistently funny or awkward as I’d hoped, but it has a lot of heart. Gervais seems to implement a lot more emotion into his work now that he has gone solo, which is nice to see. Fans of Gervais will like it. Others, not so much.
Verdict; David Brent: Life on the Road is an above-average follow up to the original series and while it does lack at times, it’s a pretty enjoyable experience.
David Brent: Life on the Road – ★★★★ (7/10)