David Brent: Life on the Road (2016) – Trailer Review


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The Office was a BBC comedy series that ran between 2001 and 2003. There were only ever two series made, plus two Christmas specials – just fourteen episodes in total. Life on the Road is a spin-off film starring the series main character – cringe-worthy boss David Brent. You can watch the trailer here.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant (co-writers of The Office) were always adamant that they didn’t want to ruin the programme by having it go on too long, inevitably ruining it as each series gets lamer and lamer (e.g Only Fools & Horses). So I was surprised when I heard there was going to be a new ‘David Brent’ movie fourteen years after the original show. Surprised, nervous and not wholly convinced.

The thing about The Office is it’s so utterly perfect. And not only was it perfect, but it ended perfectly (any true fan will tell you that). The Christmas special was so funny but also wrapped things up really well. From telling Chris Finch to fuck off, to the long awaited union of Dawn and Tim – it was touching, unforgettable and flawless.

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I should warn you, I’m a huge fan of The Office (MEGA FAN) so probably the worst person to remain neutral about this film. I hate being The Negative Person, I really do. I don’t enjoy being critical about something that other people are excited about. Just the other day I knew I was pissing someone off with my slightly pessimistic view but I can’t help that this movie doesn’t really feel right.

And that’s the best way I can explain it – it doesn’t feel right. One of my ‘Office pals’ on Twitter (we’ve spent hours trading quotes) summed it up when he said “it’s almost as if he’s trying too hard to play him, in the early days it seemed so natural” and that’s true. David has always been an embarrassing, hapless guy but in the original series it was so realistic. Perhaps it doesn’t help that Gervais is more famous now, back in 2001 no-one who he was (and he still had his classic British teeth).

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You could call it a compliment to the original programme because there’s nothing really wrong with making this film and it probably will be good but The Office was so-fucking-amazing, how can it ever again be that-fucking-amazing? Is it necessary and is it worth it? It’s not that I think the film looks awful even. Ricky Gervais is a talented man and David Brent felt familiar in the trailer (as awkward, embarrassing and ridiculous as ever) but something – which is hard to put my finger on – just wasn’t the same. Still, until its cinema release, all I can do is speculate. And believe it or not I would love to be wrong!

So anyway, trying my hardest to remain impartial here’s 10 things you should know about Life on the Road – 

1. It’s not a “The Office” movie, it’s very much a “David Brent” movie – in which David tries to re-start his music career with old band Foregone Conclusion. Forget about Wernham Hogg.

2. As such, no-one from the original cast (except Gervais obviously) will be in it. Boo.

3. However there are some great British actors involved, no-one huge (we’re not talking Gary Odocbrownldman or Ian McKellen) but likable faces from the British comedy circuit, including actor / rapper / comedian Doc Brown, who I really like (and starred with Gervais on Equality Street).

4. It’s set fifteen years after The Office ended, so pretty much in sync with ‘real time’.

5. David has a nemesis! A proper one this time (I’m not sure Neil ever valued him enough as an equal to be a PROPER nemesis in The Office) and if it’s one thing that cracks me up in comedy, it’s someone with a nemesis. So ‘Jezza’ played by Andrew Brooke could be a cool addition.

6. Horrifyingly (this is quite important) Stephen Merchant is NOT co-writing as he did with The Office and their other collaborations. Though Gervais is the “face” of The Office, Merchant was half the genius. Slightly more rsz_stephen-rickyindustrious and professional than Gervais (by their own admission) it will be interesting to see how the writing of the film differs from the TV series. I don’t doubt that Gervais is a great writer, but The Office was a long time ago and circumstances are very different.

7. Life on the Road is released here in the UK on August 19th 2016.

8. Interestingly, there will be an official soundtrack to the film with songs written by Ricky Gervais. Most of us are aware he used to wear 80s make-up and be in a band and IS actually a pretty good musician. Anyone who’s seen episode 4, series 1 of The Office will know that David Brent with guitar in hand, is a very good thing indeed.

9. There will also be a book released a week before the film called ‘The David Brent Songbook’. As well as humorous pics and excerpts, the book will also contain the sheet music of the songs in the film, which is pretty cool.

10. And just to make sure we end on a positive note, there was something that genuinely made me laugh in the trailer – hearing David’s cackle. Man I love his cackle (and that isn’t a British euphemism for penis).

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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60 Responses to David Brent: Life on the Road (2016) – Trailer Review

  1. Lloyd Marken says:

    Such a great song for the opening credits.

  2. Lloyd Marken says:

    Is there anything more English than that sex scene with My knees hurt and Nearly done. ? ? …come to think of it probably English at all. :-/ the lack of Merchant gives me pause and I liked where Brent ended up. Hmm.

    • emmakwall says:

      Haha! I can hear Finchy’s deep, northern accent voice and yep – very British! NOT that I speak from experience lol!

      Yeah I totally agree Lloyd, I loved the ending, I loved where Brent ended up and very sore misgivings about no Merchant 😦 I wonder if he pointedly ‘didn’t want to do it?

      • Lloyd Marken says:

        Hmm probably just nothing creatively spurning him to join in. I’m sure Merchant wishes Gervais the best.

        • emmakwall says:

          But if Merchant think it’s a bad idea, what hope does it hold 😦

          • Lloyd Marken says:

            Only that Gervais felt there was a story to tell here. Fingers crossed. By the way I liked Ghost Town. I know his American films don’t really live up to his other works but Ghost Town I felt was solid.

            • emmakwall says:

              I’ve not seen it I’m afraid but I did enjoy Cemetery Junction, the British film that he and Merchant made. It’s not ‘laugh out loud’ funny like The Office or Extras but it was decent.

  3. sinnerz13 says:

    The Office was a Mockumentary and it worked brilliantly filmed that way. It ended perfectly. To stretch this out to a film is ambitious!

    • emmakwall says:

      Thanks for your comment and I wholeheartedly agree, ambitious is a very good way to describe it 🙂 (wish I’d thought of that myself! Haha)

  4. Spectacular review Ms Emma! I haven’t seen The Office, but I’ve certainly heard of it and I love Ricky Gervais even if his film career has been a bit rocky. I’m definitely interested in seeing this!
    #sassysisters

  5. So strange that this is happening now…is it possible Gervais is retreating to what he’s known for after his rather dismal recent film career?
    Then again, here in the States, the UK The Office isn’t actually known that well, at least compared to the US version.

    • emmakwall says:

      I think you’ve got a very valid point, really The Office IS the best thing he’s ever done, so perhaps retreating back to old glory! (and money! Haha)

      I really hate the US version of The Office…. YUCK! Haha 🙂

  6. Tom says:

    Yeah this seems weird to me too. I have no idea why this is happening *now,* and not like a year after the American Office wrapped. I think this would have had a much better chance of being seen by both American and English audiences, but I could be wrong.

    Oh, and meant to say earlier — thank you so much for all the blog loooooove! 🙂 DSB feels honored! 🙂

    • emmakwall says:

      It’s a very strange one indeed. I think (as Jake also said in the comments) he perhaps is going back to the ‘best thing he ever made’ as so many people love and revere The Office and I don’t think anyone has a kind word to say about his film career lol! Do you think American audiences would like this British David Brent movie?

      Oh you’re welcome Tom!!!!! I’m glad DSB is feeling the love 🙂 I’ll be sure to send LOADS more!!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

  7. jwforeva says:

    Hahaha this made me laugh our loud 😀 I didn’t notice until now that Ricky Gervais was the guy behind the office, I mean I read the credits at the front, somehow never consciously knew. LOL does that even make sense!? Anyhow, thanks for recommending, I’ll be keeping a lookout! Great post Emma!

    • emmakwall says:

      Haha, it does make sense!!! 🙂 I mean it was so long ago now that it is easy to forget he had such humble beginnings. I don’t think he even got famous until he was in his 40s!

      Thanks so much for your kind words as ever my dear friend 🙂

      • jwforeva says:

        Np!! I really enjoyed this post!
        I only recently started watching it haha can you imagine?! I’m only at season 2, Steve Carell is just killing it

        • emmakwall says:

          I’ve never seen the Steve Carell version! I never want to! I like Steve Carell though 🙂

          How was your weekend?! 🙂 🙂 🙂

          • jwforeva says:

            Good haha,this one was good too, I had a super long weekend (4days!!). What? Noo you have to,he’s super funny!

            • emmakwall says:

              4 days!!! That sounds swell, are you still on your weekend or is it over now?

              Oh no, we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one haha, I do like Steve Carell (he seems very nice) I just don’t wanna watch US Office hee hee 🙂

  8. beetleypete says:

    Like you, I adored The Office. You either got it, or you didn’t, and I GOT IT.
    I saw it always as a drama more than a comedy though, and thought it was generally as sad as it was funny. ‘Extras’ was in a similar vein, and also worked well for me. However, my highest praise is reserved for ‘Derek’, the high-water mark of Gervais’ talent, and one of the best things I have ever seen on TV.
    Now the bad bit. Ricky never transferred well into film, or across The Atlantic. I thought his feature films were toe-curlingly bad, and I have real fears that this new one will be almost unwatchable.
    As ever, Pete. XXX

    • emmakwall says:

      I know what you mean Pete, I’ve found certain comedy series really sad over the years. Did you ever see Marion & Geoff? BEFORE Rob Brydon got annoying haha. Or anything by Chris Lilley? If you like The Office and Derek etc then you should totally watch Angry Boys and Summer Heights High! He’s a very clever bloke, both series made me well up with tears!! (mockumentary style such as The Office).

      I never found The Office that sad though to be honest, episode 6 of series 2 when he begs not to be made redundant was the only bit really that made me feel upset for him though there were moments I felt mildly sorry for David, generally though I just found the whole show very, very funny. Some comedies tick every boxes for you don’t they, that was certainly one for me 🙂

      I find Extras very funny too, but never got quite so attached to it. I thought the Christmas special was pretty rubbish as well. Corny.com!

      As ever back! 🙂 hope you and Ollie are well!!! xxx

  9. MIB says:

    “Stephen Merchant is NOT co-writing as he did with The Office and their other collaborations.”

    That is a big concern for me – a bit like Richard Curtis without Ben Elton… :/

    • emmakwall says:

      EXACTLY! You got it in one. Blackadder before Ben Elton joined up!

      It’s my biggest concern as well. Something doesn’t feel right or bode well…..

      I almost wonder if Merchant particularly DIDN’T want to be involved?

  10. vinnieh says:

    Nice idea for a post Emma, a very thorough and entertaining trailer review.

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