David Brent and I have a strange relationship. There are bits of “The Office” that make me laugh, smile and fight back tears. And yet, whole episodes grate my nerves to shredding point.
I used to work in an office full of people who loved it, when it was first shown on British TV. As time went by, I warmed to it.
Ricky Gervais has the knack of making the viewer feel uncomfortable. This thoroughly enjoyable film is Gervais at his best. You cringe, giggle and feel the pity that Brent elicits from the viewer.
Compared to the other films based on TV shows, this feels like a superior effort. It may even spawn a dreadful Christmas song.
One intelligent decision made here is to surround Brent with an office of people who don’t think he’s funny but insist that he should be more politically correct. Compared to the indulgent crew of the old office, that moves the comedy with the times.
Brent is convinced that a rock tour will make him a rock star. He hires a young hip band who wince as they listen to his lyrics.
My one criticism is that few of the characters feel fully-formed. Ben Bailey Smith aka Doc Brown is an exception as you warm to the young rapper who accompanies Brent on tour.
Yes, you will think of “This Is Spinal Tap” as much as of “The Office”. Gervais has made the wise decision to keep the tour as pathetic as possible.
And the tattoo scene is very funny.
Everyone at the packed Stratford East Picturehouse had a great time, watching this. And I did too. And if there is anything about Gervais’ writing that you like, you’ll enjoy it.