12 years after The Office, David Brent is now 55 and working as a sales rep for Lavichem, a cleaning products supplier that sell dishcloths and sanitary products. Brent openly admits that he has had a mental breakdown, hours of therapy and a Prozac prescription, however, he is still the same ridiculous character that we have come to know and love.
Ricky Gervais was joined by the brilliant Doc Brown who was cast as the rapper, Dom Johnson. Originally, Johnson was introduced as Brent’s “black friend” to prove that he isn’t a racist, however, it is later discovered that Johnson is more of an employee who thinks that David Brent will manage his rapping career. The main plot of the film focuses on Brent’s goal of getting a record deal. However unlikely this is, it was refreshing to watch someone give everything they have to fight for what they want.
Whilst Brent may not have changed, his surroundings have and are a lot harsher and less tolerable of his awkward and cringe-worthy demeanour. We see Brent embark on a self-funded tour which involves entry-level gigs within a 15-mile radius. During the tour, Brent is paired with a band of session musicians, Foregone Conclusion, who are less-than-friendly with him, and an audience that is quick to get up and leave. Gervais can sing in-tune and the songs are surprisingly catchy, meaning that the musical component added to the hilarity of Life on the Road, particularly as Brent felt the need to explain the meaning of each song in great detail before performing them. David Brent and Foregone Conclusion have actually released the album, and the songs featured in the film are available to purchase as a digital copy, CD and vinyl. The album even includes Freelove Freeway from series 1, episode 4 of The Office as well as Equality Street which was released in 2013 in aid of Comic Relief.
Brent represents the embarrassing moments in all our lives and his self-deprecating cries for help are often passed off as the punchline. The story finishes with a heart-warming twist and it is nice to see Brent go back to his usual self as a sales rep before thinking about how he is going to go on another tour.
Ultimately, Life on the Road worked well as both a standalone film and a spin-off from The Office. The storyline is a nice reminder that you have to fight for what you want and as long as you can say that you’ve tried your best and enjoyed yourself in the process then that is what counts. Life on the Road is a nice send off for David Brent and caused more laughs (and a few tears) than I have ever heard from a group of people in a cinema screening.