Sunday, 21 April 2019

Another day at The Office for Gervais?

TO say I’m excited about the prospect of Ricky Gervais’s best-known character returning to our screens

TO say I’m excited about the prospect of Ricky Gervais’s best-known character returning to our screens after an absence of 12 years is an understatement.

The Office was a huge success and has already been elevated to a place alongside great British sitcoms like Fawlty Towers, Only Fools and Horses and The Royle Family.

It’s fair to say then that every bone in my body is willing David Brent: Life on the Road to be a triumph.

But with such high expectations from fans, this is where the film may fall short. Gervais will have to come up with something special in just 100 minutes to rival the genius of the two TV series.

As the film’s catchline proudly reminds us, Brent claims to be “a friend first, boss second. Probably an entertainer third” — and it’s on the latter that the film focuses.

We join the delusional former boss more than a decade after The Office to find he is now a travelling salesman with Lavichem, a cleaning and ladies’ personal hygiene products company.

However, he hasn’t given up on his dream of rock stardom and is about to embark on a self-financed UK tour with his band, Foregone Conclusion.

Assembling a group of session musicians who are just in it for the money, and talented rapper Dom (Ben Bailey Smith) in an attempt to gain street cred, Brent cashes in his pensions and takes unpaid leave in a bid to turn his dream into reality.

Get ready to join David Brent on the road as he takes one last shot at fame and fortune.

The film is written and directed by Gervais, who also provides the original music and lyrics. The musical arrangement is by former Razorlight and We Are Scientists drummer Andy Burrows, with raps by Ben Bailey Smith. Part of what appealed to viewers of The Office was that so many could relate in some way or another to the series — the idea of being forced together with a group you may or may not get along with simply because your job demands it.

Brent, for all his eccentricities, awkward phrases and downright clangers, is a likeable character, who never gives up on achieving his dreams.

Thousands, if not millions, will head to cinemas in the next few days to see if Gervais gives one of comedy’s best loved characters a fairytale ending.

The film is showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from today (Friday).

Review: David White

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