BY LUKE WATHEN
“The Office” is one of the best known and beloved sitcoms of the past decade. Running from 2005 to 2013, the series was a smash-hit on NBC and continues to hold a devoted following thanks to frequent reruns and its massive presence on Netflix.
Unbeknownst to some people, however, is that the cherished American sitcom is actually a remake of a British one. The British series stars Ricky Gervais as David Brent, a counterpart to Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, who is just as awkwardly endearing. Like its U.S. contemporary, the British version of “The Office” has also ended, but recently got a pseudo-sequel with “David Brent: Life on the Road,” which was recently added to Netflix’s digital library.
The film follows Brent in the same quasi-documentary style that we are used to, only this time, he is not stuck in an office setting. Rather, he is given the chance to live his dream of becoming a rock star with the help of his newly reassembled rock band “Foregone Conclusion.”
The problem is, Brent is talentless. He seems to be stuck in this mentality that the soft rock and dated fashions of the 1970s music era never died, and his bandmates are left to suffer for it. A group of relatively competent producers, musicians and colleagues do their best to ground Brent in reality, but he is almost trapped in his delusion of grandeur.
The film carries the same awkward, often deadpan humor that made both versions of “The Office” so spectacular. Gervais gives an excellent performance as David Brent, the socially-inept boss-turned-rock-star who eats up every bit of scenery with his cringe-worthy antics and subtle self-deprecation. Throughout the film, he stuns others with the depths of his social inexperience, frequently laughs at his own jokes and makes comically tasteless comments about minorities and the handicapped in a hilariously bad attempt at political correctness.
The movie is currently available on Netflix and is one of the best original films to be watched on the platform in a long time. Fans of the British version of “The Office” will no doubt be happy to see the return of the affably awkward David Brent, while fans of the American version can still relish in the same humor that they are used to but with a refreshingly foreign twist.
Even if you are not familiar with either series, the film’s humor is reminiscent of other deadpan classics such as “Napoleon Dynamite” and “The Big Lebowski,” so fans of those movies should have no qualms with watching it. In the end, it might just be the most bizarre movie that you will ever love. Needless to say, if you are a fan of either iteration of “The Office,” this film was made with you in mind.
The Flyer gives “David Bent:Life on the Road” 8 out of 10 stars.