Get ready to cringe as the star of The Office mockumentary makes it to the big screen in all his crass, insensitive, pathetic glory.
The film is written, directed, co-produced and stars Ricky Gervais as David Brent, cleaning and sanitary products salesman and would-be rock star. In the aftermath of the TV series which brought him to the public’s attention Brent has had a bit of a breakdown and so decides the way to get back to full fighting fitness is to take his old band Foregone Conclusion on a tour around his home town of Slough.
Trouble is, no-one wants to come and watch an ageing, slightly paunchy man with bad dress sense sing self-penned songs about native Americans and the disabled. Even worse than that, his band don’t even want him to share their tour bus or go for a drink with him – unless he pays them.
Once again, the format here is a mockumentary with David Brent hamming it up for the cameras with some truly awful jokes. He’s a fantasist who thinks he should be hanging out with the likes of Mick Jagger whereas the truth is he’s actually cashed in his ISAs to self-fund this vanity project. However, there are moments of sympathy for his self-imposed awfulness – a young rapper he has befriended (a brilliant Doc Brown) sees through all the posturing to the rather lonely man underneath and as the tour and the film draw to a close, Don the tour manager (an equally excellent Tom Basden), makes a small act of kindness that not so much warms the cockles but at least takes the chill off for a while.
Although the songs are good (albeit with the worst lyrics ever), there are a few too many of them and Brent hogs the majority of the screen time – fine if you’re a fan of Gervais’s particular brand of humiliating humour, not so hot if you find the David Brent character a pain. But the thing is, even when you’re groaning as Brent makes yet another inappropriate comment laced with innuendo as subtle as a shovel you won’t be able to take your eyes off the car crash that is unfolding before you.
Did I say cringeworthy? It most certainly is, but ever so funny too.