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.