The Office is one of my favourite TV shows of all time. I actually like all versions of it that I’ve seen. I loved the US incarnation, which evolved from being a rehash of the UK original in series 1 to establishing its own identity and thriving for multiple seasons thereafter. I liked the French edition, which was essentially an inferior remake of the original series but in French. But it is the UK series that I hold closest to my heart.
This is in part because, at the time the first series was being aired, I worked in a very dull office job not dissimilar to that of the employees of Wernham-Hogg and the show spoke to me in a way not much else did at the time. Mostly I loved it because it was just a really well-written and very funny TV programme.
So when Ricky Gervais announced he would be making a spin-off movie about the misguided former manager of the titular office, David Brent, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand Brent is arguably one of UK comedy’s greatest creations, on the other, The Office was near enough perfect and any further outings for Brent could only disappoint by comparison.
And I was right to have mixed feelings because 2016’s David Brent: Life on the Road is not as good as The Office. It isn’t without value, it just doesn’t bear comparison with the series that spawned it.
Taken on its own merits, there is still plenty to enjoy. The narrative is a little far-fetched and characters aren’t as developed as they could be (Brent is the only character from the original series, although Doc Brown’s character, Dom, did feature in a Comic relief skit and actually, he might be the best thing in the movie) but I have watched this film a few times and it always manages to make me laugh.
Which, when all is said and done, is all anyone can reasonably ask of a movie about David Brent.
Score for Christmasishness
It’s not a Christmas movie. At all. But it is a movie about a desperate middle-aged man futilely trying to launch a music career. And in his repertoire is a Christmas song. As per the nature of his character, it’s completely misguided and inappropriate, but it is very funny. Since I saw this film in 2016, that song has featured heavily on my December playlist each year. So that has to qualify this film as a bit Christmas(ish) after all.