David Brent: Life on the Road

“A great time. The time of my life.”

Somewhere around the forty-minute mark of the latest television show to get a big screen adaptation, I wondered to myself “maybe Ricky Gervais is being a little self-referential. Maybe he’s being a little self-deprecating. Maybe this sad, pathetic, bumbling dickhead on screen is supposed to be some kind of metaphor for Gervais and his career.”

Then, I realised that Gervais isn’t clever enough to think of making a film that intelligent.

Long made redundant from the job that made him famous, David Brent is back in front of the documentary cameras as he tries desperately to fulfil his dream of being a rock star and not a bottom rung rep for a toiletries peddler.

Gathering together a band and planning a massive tour of Berkshire, Brent finds himself struggling with empty clubs; militant band members and trying desperately to look good for the cameras as the world falls apart around him.

David Brent: Life on the Road is not a good film. It’s not even a watchable film. In fact, the only reason I didn’t walk out half way through Ab Fab style was because I had another film to watch directly after the screening and I had no intention of hanging around in the lobby of Cineworld for an hour looking like a complete loser. While the idea of killing some time, banging one out in the disabled loos certainly appealed more than the idea of sitting to the end of this utterly self serving bag of shit; the thought of going into my next film red-faced and sweaty didn’t really sound like a viable option.

Never before has a show had such little need of a movie to follow it on. Never before has it been so apparent that a star/writer/director is doing something because the money dried up and it was either this, or start selling Daz and Cillit Bang to the pathetic inbreds watching Jeremy Kyle on a weekday morning.

I am flabbergasted that there seems to be a market for his film. What might seem appealing in the short episode of The Office simply doesn’t work in an extended amount of time. Everything from the casual racism, that in a better film or a good bit of tele would elicit a gasp and a “you can’t say that” as you guiltily giggle at it, feels nothing but offensive in the worst possible way as you haven’t laughed once up to the point that Native Americans, black and even disabled people are ribbed in a “look at how edgy I can be” kinda way. To the terrible songs that are purposely written to be hilariously bad, but forgot the hilarious part.

The hour and a half runtime seems far too long as we see Brent clumsily claw at his dignity in documentary form, like one of those awful misery porn shows that Channel 4 like to advertise as real life television. Watching him scrabble for the limelight and embarrass his band mates – who have, for what it’s worth, spent the entire time bitching about the guy like old women over fences – is just a little sad and very embarrassing.

After a little while, you get the feeling that you’re watching the escapades of “Ricky: the little boy that could” as this simpleton seems to be aiming for nothing but a participation trophy. Not helped one little bit by the turn of the entire cast from hating Brent and his bullshit to saccharinely falling for his boyish charms and daft demeanour with a “aww, he’s lovely really” kinda vibe towards the end. Utter, utter bollocks.

Gervais’ trademark – if you insist on calling it that – style, is obviously aimed at those that enjoyed watching him in his ghastly TV show, or any of his stand-up sets or movies since it finished. Seeing as I wasn’t the intended audience for this film, and the fact that I find the guy to be a charmless cretin with all the comedic chops of a bag of chilled AIDS; it’s no surprise that I spent most of my time in the film hoping for some kind of act of terrorism in the heart of sunny Milton Keynes just to end my suffering for me.

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