David Brent: Life on the Road

In the first ten minutes I was laughing embarrassingly hard. But I wasn’t embarrassed, because it is impossible to be embarrassed when David Brent is around. His presence is as cringe worthy as ever, but unlike in The Office this David Brent wins the sympathy of the crowd.

It is a simple enough premise, David Brent is a lowly sales rep at a company that sells cleaning products. Still, he carries himself with the same smarmy confidence, and hasn’t given up on his dream of being a rock star. So he has cashed in on several pensions he acquired in the 90s and is taking to the road with a remake of his band “Foregone Conclusion.”

The band members are in their twenties and are just doing the three week job for the money, the job being a series of gigs in the settlements around London. David Brent has a slew of songs he’s written himself, and he introduces each song with a long explanation before the nearly empty bars and clubs. It is profoundly awkward, and the tour exposes Brent to the isolation of bearing both universal dislike and doubt. He begins to doubt himself, and the tragedy of David Brent is quite honestly poignant.

He always tries extremely hard, and the saddest point for me was when he paid the band to sit and have a drink with him, with them on their phones desperate to get away. But his ability to see himself as being more than what everyone else sees is his redeeming quality.

In terms of humour I found the first ten minutes to be the most brilliant comedy there is. The rest of the film doesn’t quite reach that level again, but that is because you start caring for David Brent, and cannot laugh as hard when he chokes on his feet.

I’ve a feeling we won’t be seeing David Brent again, with Ricky Gervais being a sparing writer, who would rather give too little than too much. As Brent would say “You can have too much of a good thing!” And so if this is the final encore for the character I say bravo, and recommend it heartily to all.

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