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
Battle of the Sexes Interview
Emma Stone and Steve Carell Talk About Reviving the ‘Battle of the Sexes’ for the Big Screen

One of the biggest sporting events in history is now one...

New ‘Amityville: The Awakening’ Clip Takes us into the Basement

The original Amityville movie effectively terrified audiences forty years ago. The story...

Elizabeth Blue
‘Elizabeth Blue’ Examines Mental Illness in Powerful, Inventive Ways

People from all walks of life deal with mental illness. Despite...

Enabled Gaming Gaming News Gaming Reviews
5.7/10
Review – Drive Girls (PS Vita)

So what do you get when you take the robots out...

Nights of Azure 2
Koei Tecmo America Details Demon-Slaying Action For Nights Of Azure 2: Bride Of The New Moon

Survive the environments of Nights Of Azure 2: Bride of the...

SteelSeries North
SteelSeries Announces Partnership with FC Copenhagen, Nordisk Film and Their Top-Ranked Counter-Strike Team, North

Three of the Most Successful Danish Brands Team up to Accomplish...

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
viz
VIZ Media Announces New Digital Manga Content For August Update

VIZ Media details digital manga updates for August highlighted by the...

viz
VIZ Media Announces New Manga and Literary Acquisitions At Anime Expo

VIZ Media, LLC (VIZ Media), a premier company in the fields of...

9.0/10
Supergirl Makes Contact in ‘Supergirl Being Super’

Title: Supergirl Being Super #4 Writer: Mariko Tamaki Artist: Joelle Jones...

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
Yu-Gi-Oh Code of the Duelist Special Edition Debuts 9/22/17

Yu-Gi-Oh Code of the Duelist Special Edition Releases Tomorrow 9/22/17 introduces brand-new...

Yugi's Collector Box Review
I Can’t Believe The Cards That Come In This – Yugi’s Collector Box Review

I have been out the duel monsters game for awhile, but...

atari
New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis Systems from AtGames Now Available

Classic Gaming Lives Again with Release of New Atari 2600/Sega Genesis...

Arena Football Automotives MMA, Kick Boxing & Boxing Professional Wrestling
Mayweather and McGregor Previous Fights Now On Demand on Cable, Plus Interviews, Workouts and More

From iN DEMAND – New York, Aug. 17 – Before the...

Rumble on the Water 2 Delivers Punching Power

July 29, 2017 – Long Beach, CA – The Queen Mary...

UFC Star Jon ‘Bones’ Jones Releases Emoji App – BonesMoji

From BonesMoji – Los Angeles, CA., July 27, 2017 – One...

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...?
CULTURAL JUNK DRAWER SDCC 2017 86.3% TRUE RECAP!

A totally true recap of the most important geek cultural even...

Comics on the Can: Schick Hydrobot and the Transformers

Written by John Barber, Pencils by Steve Kurth, Inks by Juan...

Star Wars Themed Lands Will be the Perfect Safe House for the Rebellion and the First Order

Disney’s D23 Expo has revealed a lot of what is to...

Event News Event Reviews
The Third Annual ‘BeerX’ from 91X in San Diego Featured Sunburns and Beer Goggles

This past Saturday, I attended the 3rd annual BeerX, presented by...

anime film festival
LA-Anime Film Festival Kicks Off to Celebrate 100 Years of Anime Films

Los Angeles Anime Film Festival (LA-AFF), presented by international creative company...

stan lee
Extraordinary: Stan Lee at The Saban Theatre

Comedian, Nerdist CEO, and podcast extraordinaire Chris Hardwick will lead a roster of...

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...