It’s been over 5 years since David Brent last appeared on TV in the U.S version of The Office and well over a decade since the original (and yes, superior) series, but the former Regional Manager and wannabe rockstar is just as excruciating to watch as ever.
Although David Brent: Life on the Road has some close scrapes with being too uncomfortable for too long, personally I found it to be almost as good as my first viewing of The Office, with enough other laughs and releases throughout to make it the entertaining brand of awkwardness that Ricky Gervais does so well, rather than a straight up train wreck.
Brent’s songs don’t feature heavily enough for this to be a true musical comedy, and the mockumentary style returns to make it every bit a movie-length The Office follow-up, although the focus on fame brings in some Extras flavour from time to time.
As always, the real heart and soul of the piece comes from the genuinely portrayed moments that the supporting cast bring and Gervais is certainly aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the Brent character by now and thankfully the pacing is spot on, even managing to send us out of the theatre with smiles on our faces despite the desperately bleak life that the title character leads.
David Brent: Life on the Road is by no means a movie of the year candidate, but considering some of the underwhelming blockbusters that have plagued 2016 so far it was great to have 90 odd minutes that I could actually enjoy.
While the classic “Free love on the free love freeway” didn’t get a reprise, the soundtrack does just enough to be worth listening to. It may not be genuinely funny or musically impressive enough to warrant a purchase, but as a fan of annoying my partner with catchy nonsense I’m definitely tempted.
Ultimately Life on the Road is a worthy follow-up to The Office and wouldn’t be a complete waste of time for those that haven’t seen (or don’t remember) the series.