Fans of the TV series ‘The Office’ finally have their chance to see what became of its central character David Brent. The egocentric creation of British comedian Ricky Gervais, Brent became synonymous with self-centred workplace bosses. Since the series ended, Gervais has had very mixed fortunes in films. It makes sense he returns to his most popular role in his latest movie. As pitch black as the humour Gervais has previously used, Brent’s latest escapades is sure to shock even the most jaded Gervais enthusiast.
Wanting to re-discover the man within, David Brent (Ricky Gervais) is on a mission. Knowing he is a person of unrivalled talent, Brent decides to go on the road as a rock-star. Generously inviting a film crew to follow his musical exploits, Brent meets an array of admirers sure to take him to the top of the entertainment tree. Not all goes smoothly as with a man of understated modesty, Brent’s ways increasingly trouble the audience he attempts to win over.
You could be forgiven thinking Gervais is like his Brent character. Having written, directed, produced and starred in ‘Life on the Road’, it wouldn’t be difficult. Gervais knows the role so well and does a good job in conveying his many faults. A socially awkward, irritating, obnoxious person, Brent is someone you don’t want to spend much time with. At over 90 minutes, ‘Life on the Road’ becomes somewhat tiresome because of this. But that’s part of the reason it succeeds as you fully believe such a character exists and how well grounded in reality the film is.
It isn’t all about Brent, as his fellow band-members attempt to stay sane amidst his lunacy. The cast do well in conveying their frustrations at his endless psychosis and ineptitude. The bizarre songs they have to sing are hilariously offensive, successfully showing Brent’s ignorance at the world around him. This is dark comedy we’re watching which isn’t to everyone’s tastes. Those who appreciate something less formulaic from the norm and more risky will find much to amuse.
Having a clear beginning, middle and end within its mostly loose narrative, ‘’Life on the Road’ can be a deceptive beast. The humour is shown in many layers, proving Gervais’ comedic skills. It may not be what some expect but something edgy in an era of inoffensive, safe comedy is to be admired.
Movie Review Rating out of 10: 7
Movie Review by Patrick Moore
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