David Brent: Life on the Road
Festival Film Club rating: 5/5
By Karen Brooks
Ricky Gervais’s Life on the Road has everything we’ve come to expect from classic Brent. Years after the overwhelming success of The Office, what could have easily been the ‘difficult second album’ is in fact laugh out loud funny and heartachingly poignant in equal measure.
David Brent is now a disenchanted sales rep for a hygiene company, desperately trying to find a way to pursue his dream of being a rock star. The film is punctuated with original songs, the lyrics of which are as genius as Brent’s perfectly timed glances to camera. As we’re introduced to his life on the road in a silver saloon – the title song features such classic lines as “Off to Gloucester, I grab a Costa, just a pitch and then I’m up to Ipswich”.
As I write, the soundtrack sits proudly at number 4 in the iTunes chart – the words will make you cringe but you’ll soon be singing along. The film highlights the best and worst of humanity as David is ostracised for following his dream and for being himself – but as true fans know, he doesn’t know any other way to be.
I watched much of the film through my fingers as Brent stumbled his way through pseudo-racist, ill-informed conversations but my long-held affection for the buffoon never waned. All he truly seeks is acceptance and validation. In the end, he finds that – not on the stage but in real life. And I couldn’t be happier for him.
In the words of the great philosopher Brent – “Life is a struggle, but full of beautiful surprises along the way”. Fact.