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Directed by: Ricky Gervais
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith, Andy Burrows, Tom Basden and Andrew Brooke
Yes, I’ve met Ricky Gervais, and it was awesome!
I think Ricky Gervais is hilarious. If you haven’t seen any of his stand-up shows I highly recommend that you do. It’s intelligent, informative and hysterical. You will learn something new from him, believe me.
Like with many others, my introduction to Ricky Gervais was through his role as David Brent in The Office. I was 15 when that show originally aired, and I loved it. Haven’t actually worked in an office environment before I decided to give the show another viewing, and let me tell you, it’s miles better than what I remembered. I’m going to go on record and say that it’s one of the best British comedies ever (Only Fools and Horses takes the top spot).
I was intrigued by the idea of this film. I always thought that Ricky Gervais had some unfinished business with the David Brent character, so this film was welcomed in my eyes.
In a nutshell, this film is centred around David Brent’s dream of trying to make it as a musician with his band, Foregone Conclusion. The whole film is presented as a fly on the wall documentary, much like what the original Office television show was. Brent believes the documentary will help give him a much-needed shot in the arm. He reckons that the documentary will be filmed like Martin Scorsese film The Rolling Stones – when in fact, it’s actually a ‘where are they now’ style documentary. Brent withdraws his pension to fund the tour, as the ticket sales are less than what he can afford to pay his band.
Pretty mixed about it. It’s weird because even at the run time of 1hr and 36mins it felt as though it went on for ages. The lack of Stephen Merchant was obvious and his input could have been a huge help at times. It was predictable what was going to happen from the very start. It didn’t hurt how I felt overall about this film.
It’s been a while since Ricky Gervais has portrayed the David Brent character, and let me tell you, he hasn’t missed a beat. The guy is such a deluded, narcissistic, day-dreaming, egotistical bell-end. He truly believes that he’s God’s gift. The humour is spot on, from Brent’s tics (the perfectly judged nervous laugh, the shifty grins to the camera) to his own form of inadvertently offending people. There’s a good amount of pathos, too, with Brent really sinking to new lows over the course of the film. The plot is well-suited to the character. There are times where you feel sorry for Brent, and Ricky Gervais portrays it perfectly. He really is a solid actor.
The highlight of this film are the songs. Ricky and his band actually performed all these songs and they were equally hysterically. The standout being ‘Please Don’t Make Fun of the Disabled’ – which are just hilarious when delivered by Gervais. It’s so cringeworthy. The best way to describe it is seeing your dad trying to rap in front of your mates (that’s speaking from experience).The other one (name escapes me; I think it may have been ‘Equality Street’) where he’s performing it in an over the top Jamaican accent because ‘UB40 have been doing it for years’. The soundtrack is so great I actually went out and bought it. I reckon his Christmas tune (yes there was a Christmas song in this film) will be a legit contender for Christmas number one. Fuck the X-Factor.
All in all, it was as I expected it to be and I am fairly pleased with how it turned out. It’s not as consistently funny or awkward as I’d hoped, but it has a lot of heart. Gervais seems to implement a lot more emotion into his work now that he has gone solo, which is nice to see. Fans of Gervais will like it.
Rating: *** ½ (Aye, it’s canny, like)