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
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter Giveaway

Hey Nation! We are giving away FIVE Blu-ray copies of Resident...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ is Out of This World

It’s hard to think that there was a time when a...

Ben Wheatley and the Cast of ‘Free Fire’ Talk About the Film’s Lengthy Shootout

Put a bunch of scumbags in the same room and give...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
NBA Playgrounds Pro Roster
NBA Playgrounds Pro Roster Announced

NBA Playgrounds Pro roster announced! See the list of professional NBA players...

Injustice 2 Shattered Alliances Part 5
The Universe’s Biggest Threat Revealed – Injustice 2 Shattered Alliances Part 5

Finally, the threat that requires Superman and Batman to put aside...

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Now Available

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Now Available from...

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
Bring Back Memories of Prince in Full Vivid Color

They say time heals all wounds, but really you just become...

Five Things You Should Know About the Valiant Summit

The Valiant Summit came has left a huge impact on the...

9.5/10
Batman 21, The Wait is OVER!!!!

Title: Batman 21 Writer: Tom King Artist and Inker: Jason Fabok...

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
Solo Everyday Max Backpack Review
The Backpack That Fits My Life – Solo Everday Max Backpack Review

A backpack that finally fits my 6-foot 4-inches spatial needs every...

EIROA The First 20 Collection has begun Shipment on the Colorado

From C.L.E. Cigar Company – April 21, 2017 (Miami, FL) –...

WWE and Loot Crate Reveal Their Latest Mystery Box and Surprise!

The Game, Triple H has revealed the next wave in the...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Full Bellator 178: Strauss vs Pitbull 4 Weigh-In Results & Photos

UNCASVILLE, CONN. (April 20, 2017) –The official weigh-ins for Bellator 178:...

Bellator 176 and Bellator Kickboxing 5 Weigh-In Results and Photos

All Photos Credited to Bellator and Lucas Noonan. TORINO, ITALY –...

Combate Americas Adds Women’s 105-Pound Bout for the April 20 Card in Tucson, AZ

NEW YORK – April 6, 2017 – Combate Americas announced today...

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...?
Adult Continuity Issue Nine – Ten Inch Mutant Ninja Turtles

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

DC’s New Aqualad is ‘3-Pages of Gay’

3…2…1…Okay, now that the Social Justice Warriors who have only read...

12 Incredible Assyrian Women Around the World (Reposting)

March commemorates Women’s History Month in the United States of America,...

Event News Event Reviews
Romy and Michele Reunite on Stage

This summer something exciting will be happening… Romy And Michele’s High...

Blackheart Burlesque
Artistically Exotic and Downright Sexy – Suicide Girls Blackheart Burlesque

Your cosplay fantasies come to life, but way better and sexier...

Danzig’s Blackest Of The Black with Ministry, Suicidal Tendencies, Atreyu & More

This year marks the first Blackest Of The Black Destination Festival....

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

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

As Balto Heads on Tour with their Latest Album ‘Strangers’

Balto is a quick on the trigger, Folk, Country, Blues, Gospel,...

Lebanese Englishwoman, Nadine Khouri Lulls you with ‘The Salted Air’

There is something fitting about a woman who’s last name translates...