THE boss is back.
It may be 15 years since David Brent made his debut in The Office but the deluded office manager has returned on DVD and Blu-ray in time for Christmas.
Like Ricky Gervais’s multi award-winning sitcom, Life on the Road takes the form of a ‘mocumentary’.
The premise is that the documentary crew who filmed The Office want to do a follow-up to see where Brent is now.
But in true Brent style, he uses the publicity as a springboard to relaunch his music career.
Cashing in his pension, he takes a break from selling tampons for Lavichem to become the ‘chilled out entertainer’ he always thought he was with a tour of tiny venues in Berkshire.
With songs about dwarves and ‘the disableds’ and a belief that he is PC because his rapper mate Dom (Ben Bailey Smith) is of dual heritage, Life on the Road is classic Brent.
The first half an hour plays out like an episode of The Office with awkward humour and all the little details like Brent’s nervous laugh present and correct.
The rest of the film is the tour itself as the gigs and the attempt to get a record deal inevitably goes wrong as the out-of-touch frontman contends with a band who loathe him and are only there for the payday.
There are no real surprises in Life on the Road and it is not in the same league as The Office.
But thankfully it does not fall into the usual traps of turning a beloved comedy series into a film.
At times the humour is gentle and has more in common with Gervais’s Derek than The Office.
The dynamic between Brent and rapper Dom is also strangely endearing and makes the film.
More importantly, the tragic character has never seemed more human – no longer a manager at a big firm, he is an ageing failure chasing a dream he will never succeed at. And he finally begins to see that.
The glimmer of hope at the end is much needed and gives the film a bittersweet feel.