Reviving an Iconic Character Leads to Lackluster Results in Ricky Gervais’ ‘David Brent: Life on the Road’

David Brent: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais rose to prominence playing the obnoxious boss David Brent on the British version of The Office which he created with longtime writing partner Stephen Merchant. Brent was a character of immense unearned confidence and his moronic exploits led to a level of cringeworthy humor that few others have been able to achieve. The Office remains the high-water mark of Gervais’ career and his work has since gone through a noticeable decline since he and Merchant stopped working together in 2013. Perhaps sensing a waning popularity, Gervais has brought back his most iconic character in David Brent: Life on the Road, which follows the character as he takes a sabbatical from his job in order to follow his dreams of rock ‘n’ roll stardom with his band Forgone Conclusion. While there are moments that garner laughs in Life on the Road, the movie lacks even a fraction of the bite found in the weakest episode of The Office as the film seems like a desperate attempt at regaining some bygone relevance.

Since we last saw David Brent (Gervais), he’s taken up a new job as a salesman hawking feminine hygiene products on the road. We see Brent make inappropriate jokes while trying to close a deal, illustrating that the character hasn’t changed a bit since the conclusion of The Office. In his new office, Brent is obnoxious as ever, cracking even more inappropriate jokes that are sexist and racist in nature. Half of his co-workers are repelled by him and the other half are sympathetic to the lovable loser. Brent is going to use his accumulated savings to fund a tour of his old band Forgone Conclusion, though he’s unable to recruit any of his former bandmates instead paying out of pocket for young musicians to accompany him. Over time, David Brent has befriended rapper Dom Johnson (Ben Bailey Smith, aka Doc Brown) and has used his influence to get the young rapper to join him onstage. Travelling across England with his band and staying in various hotels is costing David a fortune and the audience reactions seem to indicate that all the expenses were for naught as Foregone Conclusion’s demise is itself a foregone conclusion despite the dreams of its leader.

The Office was driven by the antics and idiocy of David Brent but there was always supporting characters that could earn laughs while taking the spotlight off Brent himself. In a movie where he’s the main character, the obnoxiousness of the character becomes increasingly grating and the supporting characters here aren’t given the depth to counteract Brent’s boorish behavior. And yet Gervais want the audience to feel sympathetic for this character that basically has no redeeming qualities. There’s a desire to have it both ways with David Brent – funny because he’s pathetic and obnoxious but sympathetic for the exact same reasons. It just doesn’t work as intended. Gervais tries to make us feel sorry for Brent because his bandmates have no desire to socialize with him and yet watching the movie unfold there’s not a single thing to dissuade this notion in the slightest.

As a writer and director, Ricky Gervais is in dire need of collaborator to help him bring his ideas to life without allowing Gervais to fall into his worse tendencies. Lacking the collaboration of Stephen Merchant has hurt his work here and in his previous effort Special Correspondents. Hard as he tries, Gervais appears to be incapable of finding that sweet spot between heartfelt sentimentality and acerbic, cringeworthy humor. David Brent may be the character that made Ricky Gervais a comedic star, but David Brent: Life on the Road is just another example as to why that star has been rapidly fading.

David Brent: Life on the Road debuts exclusively on Netflix on February 10th, 2017.

Shop Deadpool tees in our officially licensed Marvel store!

Leave a Reply

Animation/Anime Interviews Animation/Anime News Animation/Anime Reviews Film/TV Interviews Film/TV News Film/TV Review
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The Cast and Crew of ‘Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’ Discuss the Latest High Seas Adventure

Captain Jack Sparrow and his merry band of misfit pirates are...

Two of the Greatest Wrestling Movies Come to DVD & Blu-ray in ‘Vision Quest’ and ‘American Wrestler’

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has done a huge service to every...

96 Souls
’96 Souls’ is Silly, Nonsensical Sci-fi

It’s never a good sign when a movie opens up with...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
Thicker Than Water Review
10.0/10
Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Episode 4: Thicker Than Water Review

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier Episode...

New Frontier Season Finale Trailer
Telltale’s The Walking Dead: A New Frontier Season Finale Trailer

The Walking Dead: The Telltale Series – A New Frontier Season Finale...

Nex Machina
Housemarque Games Reveals Release Date for Nex Machina

Housemarque Reveals release date for arcade-style twin-stick shooter, Nex Machina, set...

Comic Creator Interviews Comic/Graphic Novel News Comic/Graphic Novel Reviews Manga News Manga Reviews Novel/Novella Author Interviews Novel/Novella News Novel/Novella Reviews
8.0/10
Ninjak #27: Royal Adder

Ninjak #27 Written By: Kevin Maurer Art By: Cafu Release date: 5/24/2017 I’ve...

8.5/10
Batman/Shadow No. 2 Continues the Crossover Coaster

Title: Batman/Shadow #2 Writers: Scott Snyder and Steve Orlando Script: Steve...

9.5/10
Read Image Comics’ ‘Redneck’…Trust Me (SPOILER FREE)

Title: Redneck #2 Writer: Donny Cates Artist(s): Dee Cunniffe and Lisandro...

Apparel/Personal Maintenance News Apparel/Personal Maintenance Reviews Entertainment Product News Entertainment Product Reviews Food/Beverage Reviews Hardware News Hardware Reviews Mystery Box News Mystery Box Reviews
Doctor Who
The May 2017 Doctor Who Block from NerdBlock is a Timelord’s Bounty

NerdBlock’s Doctor Who block is a must for any Whovian. There...

JINX Overwatch Apparel
New JINX Overwatch Apparel to Celebrate One-Year Anniversary

Celebrate Overwatch’s One-Year Anniversary with brand new JINX Overwatch Apparel from J!NX...

DC Collectibles Reveals New 2018 ‘DC Artist Alley’ Line At Five Points Festival

From DC Collectibles – Designer super hero toys — meet street...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Epic Fighting 34 Results

Friday, May 12, 2017 – Epic Fighting took place at their...

King of the Cage Heads to Black Bear Casino Resort on June 9 for ‘Fire Starter’

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, CA. (May 10, 2017) – King of the Cage, the leader...

James ‘Lights Out’ Toney to Face ‘Lightning’ Mike Sheppard in his Final Fight

YPSILANTI, Mich., May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Main Event Professional Boxing,...

Adult Continuity Comics on the Can Cultural Junk Drawer Future Comic Rock Stars Is That Racist? Revisiting the Reviled THAT'S NOT ROTTEN! The B-Reel The Cantina Scene This Week in Crowdfunding What the HELL Did I just...?
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Cultural Junkdrawer – Season’s End: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Season 4 is everything it’s been building up...

Wonder Woman
Is That Sexist? – ‘Wonder Woman’ Marketing Maybe/Maybe Not?

There is only one month left until one of DC Comics’...

Adult Continuity Issue Nine – Ten Inch Mutant Ninja Turtles

The porn parody has a long, hard, turgid and difficult to...

Event News Event Reviews
Phoenix Comicon 2017 logo
Phoenix ComiCon Props Update

The Phoenix Comicon had to make massive changes to the costuming...

Id10T
ID10T Music Festival + Comic Conival Announces First Wave of Panels

ID10T Music Festival + Comic Conival Announces First Wave of Panels...

Disney Channel, Disney XD & Disney Junior Announce Events for D23 Expo

From D23 Expo – BURBANK, Calif. (May 17, 2017) – Disney...

Gaming Uncensored Toon-In-Talk
Gaming Uncensored: Year in Review 2016

A look back at the year in gaming.

Gaming Uncensored Roundtable: December 2016

December’s roundtable discusses story in games with Chad, Josh, and Spencer....

Gaming Uncensored: Podcast #349

Jamie reflects on some of his time with the HTC Vive....

Music Interviews Music News Music Reviews
Lahna Turner’s ‘Limeade’ is a Hilariously Haunting Comedy Album

Many people are roll their eyes at the idea of musical...

Prince’s ‘Deliverance’ Reminds Us of Who We Lost

On Friday, April 21st, it will be one year since we...

Sabroso Fest, How can you go Wrong with Beer, Tacos and Lucha Libre!?!(Photo Gallery)

The Sabroso Craft Beer, Taco and Music Festival sponsored by 95.5...