Title: David Brent: Life On The Road
Director: Ricky Gervais
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Doc Brown, Jo Hartley
Runtime: 1 hr 40 minutes
What It Is: Twelve years on from the BBC mockumentary ‘The Office’ Brent is now a traveling salesman with Lavichem, a cleaning and ladies’ personal hygiene products company. We follow him here as he is about to embark on self-financed UK tour with his band, ‘Foregone Conclusion’ for one last shot at fame and fortune.
What We Think: The TV series you may remember, left Brent on a high, he told Finchy to f*** off, he had met a woman who liked him and most importantly he exited with dignity but the subsequent years have not been kind to him and he now travels around as a lowly sales rep.
It’s business as usual with Brent’s furtive looks at the camera as it painfully lingers for just a beat too long. It’s the same narratively too as he tours the office making inappropriate remark after inappropriate remark so much so that eventually has a dressing down from HR.
It’s his dream to become a pop star and the film rather speedily focuses on that as he decides to take unpaid leave to put his band together. From this point, it’s all Travelodges and Costa Coffees as the band play empty venues and even when there are a few people in the audience most look disgusted and walk away. Brent experiences humiliation after humiliation. His band members won’t even drink with him unless he pays for them to and his existence is chasing something he will never achieve, even on the one night, he invites two women back to his hotel room they only want to be there in order to drink the mini-bar dry.
Overall though this just felt a lot like a money making exercise as he sang (in full) song after song, the songs are actually quite well put together and it’s true that Gervais can indeed sing however they do wear thin by the end.
The reason why I feel The Office worked was because it was an ensemble effort, here it’s just Gervais and after a while, you do get a bit bored in his company, for instance, the band members are there for purely functional reasons. The rapper played by Doc Brown was way underused and I thought it could have been a story about the passing of the baton to a new generation but no.
Our Grade: C-, I had to judge this as a standalone film and forget my love for the UK version of The Office (sorry American readers, the US version is terrible) and based on that I feel it was average at best. Yes, the film did pack a slight emotional punch towards the end but all the sentimental parts were cobbled together and rushed.
The way we last saw Brent in The Office was perfect, that sense of hope has now been shattered as with this ending there was no redemption.