David Brent: Life on the Road


Comedy / Music


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December 11, 2016 at 11:32 AM



Ricky Gervais as David Brent
Nina Sosanya as Dr. Vivienne Keating
Jo Hartley as Pauline Gray
720p 1080p
700.62 MB
23.976 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 12 / 170
1.45 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 36 min
P/S 17 / 141

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by whynotgoglobal 4 / 10

Ricky Gervais lets sentimentality get the better of him - again

There are good jokes and good moments here, but like so much of Gervais's work it's compromised by sentimentality and crushed by his determination to tell the audience exactly how they should feel about what they're watching. The irony here is that Gervais makes exactly the same mistake as his protagonist. We're invited to laugh at Brent explaining his song lyrics in excruciating detail but then offered the same clumsy preaching in the character's paint-by-numbers redemption in the final ten minutes. When Tim and Dawn finally got together in The Office's closing moments we believed it and we cheered for it because the writing and acting had earned that response. Thirteen years on Gervais no longer respects his audience enough for such trivia as character development. He offers us constant buffoonery and tells us to laugh at it for almost an hour and a half but then cheer for it right at the end for no reason other than that he wants to give his alter ego a happy ending. Next time out I sincerely hope he collaborates with another writer, director or producer with the authority to remind him of the basics of storytelling.

Reviewed by politic1983 4 / 10

Life Imitating Art

It's fair to say that 'The Office' was a well-observed mockumentary sit-com about the everyday mundanity of office life. A rare thing in a sit-com that seemed to improve as it went, making strong social comment along with laughs.

But since the success of 'The Office', the Gervais-Merchant writing team have delved into difficult areas; the social comment, and laughs, declining as they went. 'Extras' felt indulgent and 'Life's Too Short' short on a lot of things. Much like Steve Coogan with Alan Partridge before him, Ricky Gervais - after some time away in Hollywood - has now returned to the character that first made his name. However, this time Stephen Merchant isn't anywhere to be found.

As explored in the final Christmas episodes, David Brent is now working in the Berkshire area as a sales rep for a cleaning company. But, self-absorbed as ever, having saved some money, he takes some time off work, hires a backing band and sound engineer and organises a 'tour' of the region, living out his dream of being a musician. But, inevitably, his dream falls short for a second time.

The film, therefore, is a building on one of the famous 'The Office' moments, where Brent 'went home to get' his guitar and tells the story of his former dream during a rather unsuccessful training day. What starts off as an adlibbed piece in a thirty minute episode becomes a feature film. There is a hint of over-indulgence here.

When asked why there were so many songs in 'Bigger, Longer and Uncut', Trey Parker and Matt Stone replied that they 'wanted to be rock stars.' Gervais himself is a former musician, in a band that never quite made it. 'David Brent: Life on the Road', therefore, is a vehicle for Gervais to have his music heard on a wider scale. While these are songs designed to be comical, they are passable as songs written by someone who knows his stuff, rather than coming across as too amateurish. But with so much screen time dedicated to live performances, the songs are neither good, nor funny, enough to justify the focus.

No doubt one of the funniest elements of 'The Office' was Brent's awkwardness when faced with sensitive subjects, such as race, disability and sexuality. A lot of the songs featured are along similar lines (literally), with awkward lyrics bordering on the offensive. While no offence is intended, the fact that it has become such an important part of his comedy over the years shows perhaps the frequent post-irony at play has left Gervais confused as to his own thoughts on the subjects. Moments become awkward, but for the wrong reasons.

There are laughs here: some office bants still feature; and some of the songs do hit the funny bone on occasion. But one thing that's missing here is the others: Gareth, Tim and Dawn were all important parts of 'The Office' structure, and Brent's playing off them is what made it so strong. Here though, they are not present, and his interactions with the band - with the exception of Doc Brown's Dom - are kept on stage, lacking the natural flow of the series.

But, more importantly, it may be the absence of Merchant that is most noticeable. Gervais needed the second writer to reign the Brent within and stop this feeling like life imitating art.

As Richard Herring would say: 'They should have put Tim from 'The Office' in it.'

Reviewed by Taryll Baker 7 / 10

A nice return to the life of David Brent.

David Brent: Life on the Road is written & directed by Ricky Gervais and stars Ricky Gervais, Jo Hartley, Ben Bailey Smith and Tom Bennett.

A camera crew catches up with 'The Office' star, David Brent, as he pursues his lifelong dream of becoming a rockstar on the road.

Gervais' comedic genius was firmly planted in toe-curlingly awkward situations back in 2001, with two very successful series and specials of The Office. 'Life on the Road' explores Brent's life after the events of the show, and continues to spawn the incredibly hard-to-watch moments that Brent gets himself into. The scenes in the new office are perfectly written and performed, welcoming us back to the situational comedy that was so brilliantly crafted.

Unfortunately, once we leave the office the film slightly degrades into something more average than superior. However, this doesn't mean there aren't more hilarious scenes to follow, it just seems less consistent. I also thought that as the film moved into its final 15 minutes, it seemed like a bit of Derek had made its way into the character of Brent. That said, the heartfelt scenes were satisfying. It's possible that without Merchant's co-writing the screenplay wasn't as great as it could have been, but wishful thinking is something I like to do without.

A lot of the band performances felt a little repetitive after a while, but they did include some funny moments. The music (also written by Gervais) is catchy and fun, adding a new dynamic that we only briefly heard in the original series.

All of the actors involved are extremely convincing and show great chemistry with Brent. I felt that some of the characters were underused, most notably Nigel (played by Tom Bennett), who was surprisingly delightful.

Overall, it was as I expected it to be and I am fairly pleased with how it turned out. It's not as consistently funny or awkward as I'd hoped, but it has a lot of heart. Gervais seems to implement a lot more emotion into his work now that he has gone solo, which is nice to see. Fans of Gervais will like it. Others, not so much.

Verdict; David Brent: Life on the Road is an above-average follow up to the original series and while it does lack at times, it's a pretty enjoyable experience.

David Brent: Life on the Road, 7/10.

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