The newest of Netflix original movies is The Office spinoff David Brent: Life on the Road. Many audiences find that some Netflix original movies are lacking, but this is one of their best additions. The Office was a sitcom phenomena originally created by Ricky Gervais (who portrays David Brent) for the U.K. and it was adapted by seven other countries (most notably the U.S. version starring Steve Carell). Those who watched the original U.K. version will definitely enjoy seeing Gervais reprise his role as the socially awkward and rude salesman. The U.S. version gave us Steve Carell portraying Michael, who is equally as awkward and boorish as Brent. If you enjoyed either David or Michael making you cringe, then you will laugh out loud to Life on the Road.
This is not an Office movie since David is the only main character from the original series, but it uses the same humor and storytelling platform. The story takes place 15 years after Brent starred in the fictitious documentary series. While he used to work for a paper company, he is now a sales representative for a bathroom supply company. The first part of the movie takes place in traditional Office form: David is cracking inappropriate and offensive jokes around the workplace, his nemesis is annoyed, and his sidekick is his No. 1 fan. Straight away we have a scene where David’s boss has to reprimand him for his crass humor. The story shifts to David revealing that he has planned a tour for his band (Foregone Conclusion), another attempt from Brent to achieve rock-stardom.
The band members are paid directly by Brent and they view themselves as sellouts for an easy dollar. Joining Foregone Conclusion is real-life rapper and comedian Doc Brown (portraying Dom Johnson). Johnson is the antithesis of Brent: reserved, modest, and very talented. Johnson’s reactions to Foregone Conclusion songs like “Please Don’t Make Fun of the Disableds,” “Native American,” and “Equality Street” are some of the funniest scenes in the movie. Similar to how many Netflix subscribers will feel while watching this film, Johnson is often offended by Brent and can be found cringing (but he doesn’t get to laugh at him like we do).
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“Written and directed exclusively by Gervais…’Life on the Road’ picks up exactly where one might expect to find Brent over 15 years later. As per usual, Brent is always dipping his toes closer to tragedy than hilarity. At one point, a band member even admits, ‘I don’t know whether to laugh or cry’ regarding Brent’s excruciating and deeply sad misadventures. Thankfully, Gervais still knows how to keep Brent painfully hilarious, even amidst unending misery. It treads familiar territory, but ‘Life on the Road’ is a trip worth taking.”
The third part of the movie deals with acceptance, and the story becomes somewhat schmaltzy. David has always been a character that people have loved to hate, so this is a different emotional direction for Gervais to take with the character, but it ultimately works; by the end of the film the viewers are sure to enjoy the feel-good and redeeming moments.
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If you’re a longtime fan of Gervais or you just enjoy offensive humor within a meaningful story, then you will find this to be one of the best original movies on Netflix.
[Featured Image by Netflix]