One of the strangest things about Ricky Gervais’ sub-par return to the character that made him famous is that for the first ten minute or so, this looks like it just might be a decent comedy.
Brent (Gervais) is now a travelling salesman, but when he returns to his home office there are a string of half-decent gags to remind us that the original series was called The Office and not David Brent for a reason.
But instead of keeping Brent in the environment where he works best, the rest of this film is about his misguided quest for fame as he takes a holiday and cashes in his pension to pay for a band of session musicians to follow him around on a “tour”.
As you’d expect, it goes badly; and just continues on that same single note of badness. It’s not a complete chore: Gervais can still get a laugh when he’s not trying to wring pathos from his basically annoying character, and the comedy songs are actually pretty good as plausible yet funny “bad” songs. But the final act – where Brent’s fortunes turn around despite him remaining exactly the same annoying prat – is laughable for all the wrong reasons.
The film is screening at the Pivotonian Cinema in Geelong. Visit the website for more information.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris