Former regional manager David Brent tries to reinvent himself as
a rock star and goes on a brief tour with a band that despises him.
David Brent: Life on the Road (2016)
Written and Directed by Ricky Gervais
Starring Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith, Tom Basden,
Jo Hartley, Mandeep Dhillon, Tom Bennett
Spin-Off of the 2001-2003 TV series The Office
I have a confession to make. I've never watched The Office. The British version, anyway. I tried to once, but I felt it was so cringey that I couldn't enjoy it. Maybe I should revisit it, but after watching David Brent try to be a rock star, I think I've absorbed all I can of this obnoxious, repellent gentleman. As much as I love Ricky Gervais and all the projects he's produced (Extras, After Life, all his stand-up, etc.), I don't think anybody was asking "What happened to that bloke from The Office?" Well, thanks to Gervais and Netflix, now we know. Turns out, same shit, different day.
It's been a few years since the documentary crew wrapped up their expose on a typical British office. However, David Brent (Gervais) never stopped craving the spotlight, so he brought on a new crew to make a new doc about him leaving his job as a sales rep to pursue his dream of being a rock star. Brent books a backing band, a brief tour, and hotel rooms for the whole band out of his own pocket, and he gets absolutely nowhere. But we expected that, right? The twist would be if he actually succeeded. Instead, his band Foregone Conclusion grows to despise Brent because he's an irritating little man who won't go away. While there are a few moments and throwaway lines that made me laugh, the film on the whole just isn't that funny.
Having said that, I do believe that Ricky Gervais is one of the few people in the entertainment industry who can make situations hilarious just by existing. His off the cuff, improvisational style kept things interesting the whole time. I just wish it had been funnier, and maybe given the supporting cast something more to do beyond just hating Brent.