David Brent: Life on the Road reviewed by Jon E Clist

The Premise
A camera crew catches up with David Brent, the former star of the fictional British series, "The Office" as he now fancies himself a rockstar on the road.

The Review
Has there ever been a character more cringe-worthy than David Brent? I really do not think so, this guy absolutely shocked the world with his stupidity, bluntness and downright sexist and racist behaviour. It is a character that we’ve all kind of grown to love, and yet hate at the same time. When we all found out that David Brent was about to return to our screens, I would guess that for a lot of people there was a set amount of trepidation. Could the same level of comedic treasure be sustained in order to bridge such a time gap from the TV series through to now? Could Ricky Gervais still be able to bring about such discomfort for viewers as he had in the past? Well in short, he can and he did. David Brent - life on the road absolutely delivers in with a glorious splendor in all of its cringe-worthy greatness.

Even though we don’t get to see other characters from the original TV series, there are some of the new cast that certainly makes up for it. While the television series had an extremely weird character of Gareth, who somewhat idolizes David Brent but is so strange in his own way, here we have the character of Nigel as played by Tom Bennett. This character is a boy in a man’s body who has so completely bought into the cult of personality that is David Brent. While pretty much everyone in the office finds him inappropriate and over the top, Nigel is like the lovesick apprentice that Brent has dreamed of.

Then there is Jo Hartley’s character of Pauline. The ever-so-strangely crushing HR executive. Her underlying interest in Brent is so well played throughout the film and it adds yet another frustration to the viewing of Brent as you watch him completely missing her interest. But enough semi spoilers from me, there are plenty of moments where you will watch the film through your fingers as you shuffle in your seat saying, “Oh you can’t say that” to a hapless man just hungry for some affection or interest from the world around.

Of course the film centers around David Brent self-funding a mini tour with a band of session musicians, who really don’t respect or even care for him, in fact as the story unfolds they become even less forgiving of his extreme behavior. This in itself sets up perfectly for more distractingly funny moments.

I think that Gervais has outdone himself here and added a little more obvious life lesson into the script that was pretty much missing in the TV series but that we found popping into the final Christmas specials for The Office and Extras. Good on you Gervais, perhaps you are growing up a little and realizing that sometimes art isn’t just about making us feel uncomfortable…

The Verdict
Cleverly and uncomfortably hilarious and pretty much guaranteed to having you laughing and you know what, there’s actually a pretty good message buried within. A rather satisfying watch.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 1st September 2016
Rating: M – Contains Offensive language, sexual references & content that may offend
Duration: 96 minutes 
Genre:  Comedy
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jo Hartley, Abbie Murphy
Director: Ricky Gervais (the Office, Extras)

The Extras
Ricky Gervais has set some live David Brent and Foregone Conclusion concerts to promote the film.

A spin-off to The Office (UK).