David Brent: Life on the RoadCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Ricky Gervais resurrects his well-known, tragically funny character from The Office and brings him to the big screen to roaring avail in his new mockumentary, David Brent: Life on the Road.
It’s been nearly 15 years since David Brent was made redundant at Wernham Hogg. After a brief bout of clinical depression, Brent returns to the daily grind, only this time as a sales rep instead of resuming his former post as regional manager. Utterly convinced of his true calling as a rock star, Brent empties his pension funds and embarks on a hapless tour. Like so many of his escapades, the tour is doomed for failure and does nothing more than fuel his fantastic delusions.
Although explicitly not a sequel to The Office, the formula is the same in which Brent is given free rein while everyone else – from spectators to his backup band – is made to agonise over his train wreck decisions and social ineptitude. A more personal, intimate view of the character is revealed than what was ever revealed on the show, such as the vulnerability that comes from being the target of bullying or when facing his own inadequacy. Thankfully, the pity-party only lasts until Brent is back to his proud, flaunting tendencies. Gervais’s comedic genius, of course, lies in his sincerely innocent portrayal; his plainly racist or sexist remarks are all easier to roll along with because of his innate harmlessness.
The comedy features original music from Gervais and Andy Burrows of We Are Scientists, who also plays the drummer of Brent’s unfortunately named band, Foregone Conclusion. The original songs are, in fact, quite brilliant in their own right, from the out-dated chord progressions to the mindless, often benignly offensive lyrics. What is most impressive is how they actually sound like legitimate songs; if given a casual listen, one may honestly mistake the band for a washed-up Americana rock group from the seventies. Funnily enough, along with the soundtrack album, a songbook and various music videos will also be released.
The film delivers all the familiar cringe-worthy, embarrassing and inadvertent humour of The Office and then some. Definitely try to catch one of the promotional Foregone Conclusion concerts before Gervais lays his greatest brainchild to rest.
David Brent: Life on the Road is released nationwide on 19th August 2016.
Watch the trailer for David Brent: Life on the Road here: