David Brent: Life on the Road (2016)


Spoiler-free review of David Brent: Life on the Road

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I am a mega fan (annoyingly so) of ‘the original David Brent series’ The Office and after two wonderful series and an amazing Christmas special that wrapped things up just so damn perfectly, I wasn’t sure that a movie starring Brent was necessary or a good idea.

But I saw it last night and couldn’t believe how much I enjoyed it. This is going to be a spoiler-free review but I can tell you that I laughed a lot – and even shed a tear. If you’re a fan of The Office and Brent stop reading and just go watch it. Seriously.

The writing was really good. I had some trepidation where the script was concerned because Gervais old writing partner Stephen Merchant was not involved with the film. But I should have had more faith. Within minutes of the film starting I was laughing – really laughing. Tears coming out of my eyes laughing. And I didn’t spend any time debating if I liked it or not – I was just hooked. It felt, sounded and looked like the same old David (albeit older) right from the beginning.

As well as Gervais pulling off Brent again (“as an actor said to a bishop”) considering that thirteen years have passed since he last played him, the entire cast playRicky-Gervais-David-Brent-Life-on-the-Road-copyed their parts excellently. With an outlandish, embarrassing character like David it is fairly important that the other actors and support cast react to him in a way that is both humorous and realistic. Everyone in the film played their part very well, contributing to a familiar fly-on-the-wall-cringe we all felt whilst watching The Office. Quick shout out to the talented Doc Brown who plays David’s downtrodden musical ‘partner’ – and if you’ve not seen it before, watch his Proper Tea rap here (from his real live stand-up comedy, very good).

So the documentary crew picks up with David again, years after The Office, as he goes on tour (well kind of) with a reluctant band and crew, hoping to get Foregone Conclusion signed to a record label. His music and thirst to be a rock star is a big part of the story and during the film’s 96 minute duration there are a lot of songs which some people may find tedious. David-Brent-Life-on-the-Road-Movie-Set-3For my part I enjoyed them. I found them genuinely catchy and well written and genuinely funny too, though sometimes a bit deafening in the cinema! And there are still scenes in an office environment, a new company where David now works as a sales rep (“who does your tampons?”). Some of the scenes here were so funny I was actually crying.

But there are heartbreaking moments as well, both on and off the road. David’s ludicrous behaviour (which tends to put people off him) felt harder to watch this time around and basically a bit sadder, though the writing is still spot on and I felt this only served to make Life on the Road an even better, more memorable film.

I can’t honestly say how it will hold up in ten years time, when compared to The Office (stop comparing it to The Mother-Fucking Office…) that I have watched a million times this last decade and still makes me laugh out loud. I’ve only seen this film once but one thing I do know is that I really, really enjoyed it and it felt fitting and right. What pleased me most is how much it still felt like David and the writing and script which I found both hilarious and clever. I think my exact words when I walked out the cinema were – “I want to watch it again!”.

A very pleasant surprise, hugely enjoyable film and a must watch for all fans of the Chilled Out Entertainer.

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About emmakwall

Films, books, soundtracks, good humour
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41 Responses to David Brent: Life on the Road (2016)

  1. Kevin says:

    As someone who never saw the British version of The Office…and thoroughly disliked the american one. Do you think I’ll be able to enjoy it? I mean, can a newcomer enjoy it?

    • emmakwall says:

      Urgh, the American one!!! *spit*

      I’m not sure really, I guess you’d enjoy it enough but it wouldn’t mean so much, some of it may seem pointless. How you been?

      • Kevin says:

        I’m good overall, though HMRC once again denied me the National Insurance number. I need to reapply ASAP. I’m both desperate and furious at this. But I’m trying not to focus on this too much.

        You? Been MIA this week

  2. Jay says:

    Do tickled to hearead this. Love him too.

  3. I cannot wait to see this movie! Great review Ems. Looks so funny!

  4. Nice one Emma! I am actually so relieved that you enjoyed this! I’m looking forward to giving it a go and revisiting Brent’s pure awkwardness again.

  5. Movies and Other Stuff says:

    Hey, I just nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Click here for details
    https://moviereviewsandotherstuff.wordpress.com/2016/08/21/the-sunshine-blogger-award/

  6. Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed this! I’ve only ever seen the US version of The Office, I didn’t think I’d enjoy the UK version but then I saw a trailer for David Brent: Life on the Road and I was crying from laughing! Going to have to give the show and the movie a chance I think 🙂
    – Allie

    • emmakwall says:

      Give it a chance!! There’s only two series (12 episodes) and two Christmas special episodes apart from this film, you could watch them all in a day…. 🙂

      I loved it! I hope you do too 🙂

  7. filmsCine says:

    Wow, I’m really pleased you like this! I’m dying to see it. Unfortunately where I live, cinemas don’t know how to show the most recent movies.

    There’s an interesting conversation surrounding it all, and I think you make a great point when you touch on the fact you just enjoyed it and stopped analysing. That’s maybe what we should do, try and enjoy it objectively. I keep thinking… will I enjoy this more because I’m a huge Brent fan… or will I enjoy this less because I’m a huge Brent fan?

    Gervais’s movies in general have been quite disappointing to me, but all the TV work is fantastic.. my favourites being Office, Extras, Life’s Too Short. So I’m with baited breath, but your review gives me some great hope 🙂

    “Well surely it’s going to be worse for morale in the longrun when there are redundancies and you’ve promised people there won’t be?”

    “… they won’t remember.”

    • emmakwall says:

      HAHA! Great quote 🙂

      This was such a pleasant surprise, I suppose I just didn’t believe they could truly resurrect David Brent but I felt they did and it was written well. Hopefully no more now though!

      Yes I agree 100%! It was far better just to sit and enjoy the film than analyze and compare. I really hope you get to see this soon and we can compare notes! (and quotes!!!)

      “I dunno mate, Neil’s pretty trim..”

      “What, against karate?”

  8. MIB says:

    Glad you enjoyed it! I’ll share my thoughts once the DVD comes out… 😦

  9. beetleypete says:

    Glad to hear that it’s good. I have seen/read lukewarm reviews.
    Gervais was a revelation to me years ago. From his solo spots on comedy series The 11 O’Clock Show, to his wonderful (and often misunderstood) stand-up concerts. Then came the TV. The marvellous The Office, where we laughed at him when perhaps we really should have been crying, to the brilliant concept of Extras, where he laughed at himself, and the whole concept of stardom.
    Then came Derek, to my mind one of the best things I have ever seen on TV during my whole life. Bitingly accurate, brilliantly conceived and scripted, and heartbreakingly sad. It was so good, I wrote this about it.
    https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2013/02/17/derek/
    Then he went to America, and I stopped liking him. I stopped liking him a LOT. I couldn’t stand the awful Night At The Museum, and The Invention Of Lying was truly one of the worst films I have ever seen. He seemed to have lost his way, and lost me along the way too. Then there was some redemption, with Cemetery Junction. You could see he was still in there somewhere. I doubt I would go to the cinema to see Life On The Road, but I will definitely watch it, and almost certainly enjoy it.
    Of course, in the early 80s, he wanted to be a pop star. Maybe he is lampooning himself once again? Great stuff, Em. I am pleased to see you back on form.
    As ever, Pete. XXX+xx
    (And this is him, singing lead vocal…)

  10. alexraphael says:

    I didn’t realise this was out. I’ll come back to his when I’ve seen it.

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