David Brent: Life on the Road

Films adapted from TV comedies fall in to two distinct camps – The Inbetweeners at one end and, right at the other end, deep in the quagmire, Harry Hill, Keith Lemon and everyone else who is popular on TV, but less so on the big screen.

Many years after he’s left Wernham Hogg, Brent is now a travelling salesmen of sanitary products embarking on one last shot of stardom.  On a limited and shambolic tour with his band, we join David on the road as he seeks a record contract.

“You don’t have to be on stage to be worth something.”

David Brent may just nudge The Inbetweeners from its lofty perch, telling a story that covers all the bases that The Office was famous for – the awkward humour borne of Brent’s misplaced and misguided confidence leading into the beautiful moments of heartfelt emotion that hint at the brilliance that Ricky Gervais would have if he wrote drama.

At 95 minutes long, Gervais gives us a three part story that wouldn’t be out of place in a TV miniseries – this is how the film feels and it’s a very comfortable feeling.  There isn’t a big-screen feel to David Brent’s adventure, and nor should there be.

“I was a rock star”

Whereas other pretenders to the TV-to-film crown may have tried to mask their shortcomings with spectacle, Ricky Gervais confidently strides through the film knowing that he’s the centre of attention.  Very much like The Inbetweeners, these are characters we’ve seen grow, performed with such conviction that it just works.