SPE­CIAL COR­RE­SPON­DENTS

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - WEEK IN MOVIES -

Di­rec­tor: Ricky Ger­vais (

Star­ring: Eric Bana, Ricky Ger­vais, Vera Farmiga, Kelly Macdon­ald, Kevin Pol­lak, Amer­ica Fer­rera Ver­dict: Any re­port in a storm

PUT- UP- OR- SHUT- UP time is fast ap­proach­ing for Bri­tish fun­ny­man Ricky Ger­vais.

Want to put a date on it? Keep your binoc­u­lars trained on late Au­gust. That’s when Ger­vais re­vives his great­est, grat­ing- est cre­ation, David Brent, for the big screen with Life on the Road.

Ev­ery­one who loved what Ger­vais did with that clas­sic char­ac­ter for the orig­i­nal Bri­tish TV in­car­na­tion of The Offi ce must sin­cerely have all avail­able fi ngers and toes crossed for the movie re­boot.

In the mean­time, to keep his comic fi tness up, Ger­vais has cranked out Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dents, a quickie hit- run com­edy for Netfl ix’s ev­er­ex­pand­ing fea­ture- fi lm op­er­a­tion.

While this loose re­make of a French 2009 box- offi ce hit of the same name won’t rank with Ger­vais’ best work, there are just enough hints of a long- awaited re­turn to form that au­gur well for the Brent project.

This movie is cen­tred on one great idea which is fully ex­ploited well be­fore the fi nal act.

How­ever, be­fore Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dents ta­pers out to a rather meek con­clu­sion, there are some qual­ity laughs to be had with its tale of two ra­dio broad­cast­ers fak­ing live crosses from a South Amer­i­can war zone.

Star re­porter Frank ( Eric Bana) and pro­ducer- sound­man Ian ( Ger­vais) are sup­posed to be in Ecuador, which is tee­ter­ing on the brink of all- out civil war.

How­ever, af­ter los­ing their pass­ports on the way to the air­port, the pair fi nd them­selves holed up in the at­tic of a Span­ish cafe in New York. It is here they per­form fraud­u­lent reports of the cri­sis down the phone to an un­ques­tion­ing au­di­ence gripped by what they are hear­ing.

Just to up the ante, Frank and Ian’s cafe hide­out is lo­cated di­rectly across the street from the sta­tion that em­ploys them. Just when their plight can’t get any more ridicu­lous, Frank makes an on- air slip that re­quires he and Ian to ap­pear in per­son at the US Em­bassy in the Ecuado­rian cap­i­tal Quito as soon as pos­si­ble.

If Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dents has one prom­i­nent prob­lem – aside from run­ning out of gas be­fore the fi nish line – it is that no one player in the cast is pre­pared to step up and dom­i­nate when needed.

If any­thing, Ger­vais’ gen­eros­ity in play­ing sec­ond fi ddle to Bana ( who never quite gets his shouty, oafi sh lead char­ac­ter into the like­able zone) turns out to be a wellinten­tioned mis­take.

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