David Brent: Life on the Road

3 out of 5 stars

The difference between The Office and this feature length movie is fairly obvious: you get David Brent in only small doses, moderated by an ensemble of well-written, varied and often more likeable individuals in the sitcom but as the title indicates, the film is all Brent, all the time. And while Brent is a comedic goldmine of a character, dwelling on him for too long on his own, one soon get past the funny awkwardness and veer into a more tragic character who is ambitious yet mediocre; self-centred, though well-intentioned but painfully oblivious and often even more painful to watch. How much you can take this will directly affect how much you’ll enjoy this film. For me, the film starts well, establishing a different office setting as if this is a pilot reboot (which I would watch!). Then the touring stuff begins and while the songs are hummable (it’s the lyrical content that makes them crap/funny to be honest), the situation gets more ridiculous for comedic purposes (to a varying degree of success) and the emotional payoff and pathos comes late and a little out of nowhere. Brent is funniest when he is interacting with people around him and you miss that in the film here. Without them, he becomes either a comedic stand-up routine or just simply sad. Not as bad as AbFab and just about justifies its existence outside the small screen – whether you pay the tenner to go see it on the big screen will depend on whether there is anything else in your local Cineplex that grabs your attention more than this.

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