David Brent (Ricky Gervais) first graced screens as the star of mockumentary The Office in 2001, and while he’s not longer at Wernham Hogg Paper Company, little else has changed with our pompous protagonist.
Now working as a sales rep flogging tampons at an equally grey sales firm, David is gleeful as he once again becomes the centre of a documentary when camera crews catch up with the former ‘star’.
As already seen in the 2013 Brent reprise for Comic Relief, David is now managing talented rapper Dom (Doc Brown). The pair has already collaborated on questionable track Equality Street, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg, and David ploughs his cashed in pension to take his social commentary songs on the road.
He hires a group of hipster session musicians to become his backing band Forgone Conclusion and sets about securing gigs in and around Slough. Things get off to a bad start though when Dom and the band suggest David drives himself to gigs, behind the swanky tour bus the office worker hired for the tour. Further thinly veiled insults come when David is forced to use his own dressing room, rather than hang out with the group in theirs. In fact the only time the band hang out with their frontman, is when he pays them to.
As the tour limps to the end of its eight-date run, and with David shelling out over £20,000 on the expedition, it’s clear fame and fortune will continue to bypass the deluded ‘original reality TV star’. Is this Brent’s last stab at fame, or will he live to sing another day?
Fans of The Office fear not, Brent is well and truly back to his best in this feature length offering. Over a decade may have passed since we left David in Slough, but nothing has really changed for the wannabe. The way he speaks, his lofty pop ambitions and his self importance are all still intact, as is his way of making us feel sorry for him right at the last minute – especially as this time around he’s much more open with his feelings. Gervais is at his best when he’s back in Brent’s cheap, ill fitting suit, and your face will contort into a smile as soon as you hear his voice.
Characters like Dom and Brent’s not-so-secret admirer Pauline (Jo Hartley) fit in well for our other favourite Office characters, though you’ll be yearning for a bit of Tim, Dawn or Gareth action. Even Keith would suffice! Just one would do it, but there are no cameos from the old gang and the hole that’s left is palpable.
At 96 minutes the film is the perfect length for a comedy, but a little bit like The Inbetweeners flicks, it feels slightly drawn out when you’re used to much shorter offerings. However there are plenty of laughs to be had, with Gervais’ genius shining throughout. While Equality Street, Please Don’t Make Fun of the Disabled and Life on the Road don’t quite make our playlist, one time new wave popstar Gervais shows us again that he can really sing.
More than anything this movie proves that Gervais can present as many Golden Globes as he likes, but while we still have David Brent, Ricky will never fully give himself over to Hollywood.
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