Title: David Brent: Life on the Road Director: Ricky Gervais Year: 2016 Run time: 1hr 36m
“Brent is back! Twelve years on from the BBC mockumentary ‘The Office’ David Brent 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.”
1:13 – “One size fits all. No, it doesn’t really.” 3:36 – You really shouldn’t then list the types. Oof. 5:43 – The brilliance is his inability to leave a sentence unfinished, regardless of how awful it is. 11:04 – “Like having a 15 year old in the office.” 12:37 – Yay, recording studio yumminess. 15:26 – Well, I mean, I don’t often side with Brent, but I’d rather do something creative with my holiday than just two weeks in Marbella. 16:32 – Reading Oracle shout out. 22:13 – Aww, the song! 24:50 – It can be tricky if you analyse everything you say like that. 26:17 – Epic tour bus, but pretty unnecessary for a tour up and down the M4. Genius. 28:31 – “I love sound checks. Checking all the… sound.” 37:02 – Sausage or pie is one of the weaker games I’ve heard of. 38:06 – I do enjoy the side eye looks from the band. 41:19 – “I will PR.” 44:05 – As soon as he said he was halfway through, I saw where that was going and it was still funny. “That’s it, that’s there forever.” 49:02 – Epic dad dancing. 53:35 – The world might be worse but there’s still lovely people in it! 55:50 – “Knowledge is knowledge.” 1:05:57 – That’s the bit where he’s different, thinking its okay to have to pay people to hang out with you. 1:08:36 – “You think it’s painful to watch…” 1:19:54 – Real songs, ha! 1:26:33 – The snow is adorable. 1:31:33 – “Is that your favourite chord?”
Loved The Office, so naturally was keen on watching this to see how the character of David Brent has been getting on. However, I was also dreading watching it because a thirty minute episode with Brent was excruciating enough, I wasn’t sure getting through ninety minutes would be bearable.
Thankfully, it was far more watchable than I thought it would be and it turned out to be very enjoyable. It’s a bit of a slow start, introducing an entire new office and getting all the pieces together to go on tour, but once they go on the road (in an entirely unnecessary fashion!) it picks up considerably.
Seeing Brent try to better himself was at first cringeworthy, but by the end, actually quite inspirational. The band being horrible to him were at first sympathetic but by the end, irritating - I wasn’t totally sure I bought their change of opinion towards him, but you had to sort of go with it.
I found it fascinating that there was no moment of realisation, no specific turning point for Brent or his colleagues, that made the end happen. He didn’t change, I don’t think he can, and they certainly still found him annoying. But even so, it was a slow progression of a journey that ended with a moment of happiness in the pub. Not an award-winning film by any stretch but still a good story and far more subtle than I had any hope of it being.