Thursday, February 9, 2017

Movie with Abe: David Brent: Life on the Road

David Brent: Life on the Road
Directed by Ricky Gervais
Released February 10, 2017

For anyone craving a reboot of “The Office,” this is about as close as they’re going to get. While the American remake starring Steve Carell may be far more popular in the United States, it’s the British original that spawned at least seven international versions that started it all. Ricky Gervais didn’t achieve all that much popularity until he wandered on stage to accept his two Golden Globe wins in 2003 for producing and starring in the show that made the workplace fun. Now, more than a decade and a half after he launched the show, Gervais is back as David Brent in a new film about what the world’s worst boss has been up to since he signed off the air.

This film’s title purposely doesn’t mention an office since, while part of it does take place in one, it’s not really a continuation of the British series. Brent is the only character from the original series to appear in the film, and he’s no longer the man in charge. Instead, he works as a sales rep in an office where he sits at a cubicle and still continues to make everyone shudder with his inappropriate comments and activities. On the side, he’s pursuing his dream of becoming a musician, shelling out absurd amounts of money to fund a band called Foregone Conclusion, whose talented members must constantly deal with Brent’s insatiable desire to hog the spotlight.

It would be near impossible to tally the number of uncomfortable and awkward moments in this film, which runs just over an hour and a half. Brent almost doesn’t need to try in order to offend everyone around him, and the fact that he always keeps pushing after he’s already sunk so low is not an attribute. What’s refreshing about this film is that it features honest takes from those in his life as part of its mockumentary style, with most describing that they believe he really can’t help it, and something just goes off in his brain to force him to make every situation worse after he’s already obliterated any chance of it being acceptable. Better yet, there are a few endearing colleagues who have chosen to look at their relationship with the one and only Brent as something not all that negative.

Getting to spend time with Brent and come to that same realization – that he’s not all that bad – is what makes this film worthwhile. While this reviewer and many others might prefer Michael Scott to David Brent, they’re very much the same kind of person, just as well-intentioned as they are misguided and just as seemingly selfish as they are selectively generous. Watching that transformation as it plays out with new characters by Brent’s side in a full-length film turs out to be an enriching and entertaining experience, with some music that’s not nearly as bad as those in Brent’s bad seem to think it is.


No comments: