Posted on August 10, 2016 by Darren
Perhaps David Brent: Life on the Road represents the edge case for the current wave of nineties nostalgia.
The Office premiered in July 2001. It was the first year of the twenty-first century, but spiritually near the end of what might be termed “the long nineties.” The mockumentary sit-com was something of a novelty at the time, building upon the rich history and legacy of British comedy personalities like Alan Partridge, with Ricky Gervais introducing the character of David Brent. Gervais did not invent cringe-comedy, but he certainly pushed it forward. Gervais’ work in The Office and Extras would inspire a whole generation of awkward social comedy.
He’s got a t-shirt gun and he’s not afraid to use it.
David Brent is an interesting beast. On the one hand, it seems like a nostalgic return to familiar ground for a comedian who has long evolved past this persona. Barring a brief reprisal of the role for Red Nose Day in March 2013, Gervais retired the role of David Brent more than a decade ago. In some respects, David Brent finds the comedian retreading old ground that had been ceded to a generation of imitators and innovators years earlier. Gervais slips effortless back into the role, but there is a sense that the world has changed around him.
Despite Gervais’ best efforts, there is an awkwardness to David Brent. It is hard to tell whether Gervais has soften in the intervening years or whether the world has gotten harder, but David Brent feels trapped between two extremes. The feature film adaptation feels at once too mean-spirited and too kind-hearted towards its protagonist, offering a version of the character who is as awkward and offensive as he has even been while constructing a film that coddles the obnoxious former manager. The result is a film that feels off-balance, an old standard played out of tune.
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: comedy, David Brent, non-review review, review, ricky gervais | 4 Comments »
Posted on July 25, 2013 by Darren
Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa successfully brings the BBC icon to the big screen. He’s come a long way from a sports desk persona on a BBC4 parody radio show, and modern British comedy owes a lot to Coogan’s creation. Partridge has been around for over twenty years at this point, in many ways becoming more recognisable than Steve Coogan himself. It’s surprising that it’s taken this long to shepherd Partridge to the big screen.
Partridge is the king of what might be termed “cringe comedy”, and is a clear forbearer of Ricky Gervais’ David Brent. As such, it’s possible to feel that Partridge is a little dated. Certainly, there are times when Alpha Papa plays out like it could be an extended holiday special featuring North Norfolk’s most famous radio DJ. To be fair, that’s not a bad thing. Coogan is on fine form here, the comedy is broad and the wit is quick enough that there’s never a dull moment.
It’s a giant-sized helping of the comedy character, one which stays true to his roots even if it does occasionally feel like it over-simplifies him a bit.
On the air, and on the line…
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: Alan Partridge, Alpha Papa, bbc, Coogan, David Brent, Disc jockey, film, Movie, non-review review, Norfolk, North Norfolk, Norwich, Partridge, review, ricky gervais, steve coogan | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 31, 2012 by Darren
As well as counting down the top twelve films, I’m also going to count down my top twelve movie related “moments” of 2012. The term “moment” is elastic, so expect some crazy nonsense here. And, as usual, I accept that my taste is completely absurd, so I fully expect you to disagree. With that in mind, this is #1…
If you ever need proof of how delightfully absurd The Muppets was, the sight of Oscar-winner Chris Cooper dancing and rapping across his desk, only to unleash a storeroom full of chorus girls while Jason Segel looks on in confusion should do the trick. It’s a fantastic moment because it’s so ridiculously surreal. Cooper is rapping for about a minute of screen-time, meaning that it’s over before it has really begun – leaving both the characters and the audience wondering what the hell just happened.
In a great way.
Filed under: Movies | Tagged: Academy Award, amy adams, art, avengers, Bret McKenzie, Chris Cooper, Dark Knight Rises, film, Hollywood Reporter, jason segel, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kermit, Lion King, Movie, multimedia, Muppet, New York City, popular culture, ricky gervais, Ty Burrell | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 15, 2011 by Darren
It happens every once in a while when I view a poster, or a DVD, or even browse the end credits of a film. I’m sure you’ve noticed it too. There’s a certain actor, who happens to be relatively well known (even in a particular geographic region) whose name happens to be featured rather prominently on those lists, ranking just below the leads of the given film. The only problem? Well, the person in question only appears in the film for a scene-and-a-bit, and actually warrants inclusion towards the end of the cast list… if at all.
One of these is the UK poster. Guess which one. Go on.
Filed under: Movies | Tagged: Christina Applegate, Gerry Boyle, Hall Pass, Jason Sudeikis, JasonSudeikis, Jenna Fischer, mark strong, marlon brando, Owen Wilson, Richard Jenkins, ricky gervais, Stephen Merchant, tim burton | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 20, 2009 by Darren
I love Sky Anytime. It gives me the opportunity to watch stuff I would normally miss at a time that suits me. This weekend, for example, I sat down for Saturday lunch and decided to see what was available to watch. I found Ghost Town, a movie which never really became large enough to warrant a cinema trip and my family’s Gervais-aversion ruled out a rent. So, I switched it on and I was reasonably impressed with this modern spoof on the ghost story subgenre. There’s nothing too strange or startling or new here, but it’s a solidly entertaining comedy and a more than pleasant diversion.
Dead people see him...
Filed under: Non-Review Reviews | Tagged: comedy, david koepp, film, films, ghost town, ghosts, greg kinnear, Movies, ricky gervais | Leave a comment »