In a belated effort to tap into the success of his hit TV show The Office (made in two thousand and *mumble* – to quote the movie), Ricky Gervais risks unflattering comparisons with his washed up titular character. Fortunately there is just enough comedy to be milked from the premise, not to mention some unexpected pathos.
David Brent, former inept boss at Wernham Hogg, now finds himself a lowly sales rep for women’s products. But delusions of grandeur remain and he decides to take his amateur band, Foregone Conclusion, on tour. Alas, his mediocre pipes and inane, racist lyrics tend to raise eyebrows instead of roofs. Gervais is an old pro at awkward “squirm-humour”—but the (oblivious) racism is recycled for laughs ad nauseum. In fact, most jokes would fall flat without the rolling eyeballs of backup vocalist and gangster rapper (with a heart of gold) Dom (Ben Bailey Smith).
It is unfortunate that the more somber aspects of the plot aren’t explored further; ie: Brent as victim of his bandmates, promoters and the ‘mockumentary filmmakers’ themselves who take financial advantage of his mid-life crisis. The film is not a classic but worth a look for fans of the original TV show.