(Directed by Ricky Gervais) (2016)
We have commented on David Brent from The Office and his unique place in the pantheon of The Theatre of Embarrassment. Here we have a film version of the next chapter of Brent’s life – he’s now at a feminine hygiene products office, handling phone sales and cold calls – and dreaming of his return (not comeback) as a lead singer in a rock ‘n’ roll band (“Foregone Conclusion”), which frankly, does not seem to be feasible.
Brent is one-of-a-kind. He is excruciating, wanting, a bundle of inhibitions. You expect him to go on a kill-crazy rampage when his dreams are shot down, burned and buried, as they are here, constantly, in unrelenting fashion. His session musicians hold him in contempt; the production guy cannot believe he has signed up to the Brent “tour”; his young Rap protégé wants out; his tour is so local that the band could go home afterwards instead of putting up at the hotels Brent has paid for out of his fast-diminishing pension pot.
Although the supporting cast of characters are strictly scene-setters, Gervais is perfect as Brent – so perfectly awful that your spleen wants to rise up and strangle your brain. The songs are gold – lyrics designed to offend everyone – and the tunes actually rather good. The whole melange is predictable but no matter – it’s sad, sweet, and funny.
(Here’s Ricky from 1983 in his 2-man band, Seona Dancing – “Bitter Heart.” Niiiiiiiiiiice!)