SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS [2016]

specialcorrespondents_slice

Directed by Ricky Gervais

Written by Ricky Gervais

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga


Fans of Ricky Gervais must be happy that he has jumped back into the director’s chair for a movie, after numerous successful television series in which he usually stars. He is certainly a polarising figure, most people seem to love or hate him. He usually produces quality entertainment, if we forget the abysmal The Invention of Lying, and this year he has teamed up with Netflix to make a low-budget comedy, which for the most part is funny and well-produced. Gervais’ fingerprints are all over the script, with many amusing one-liners and a lot of awkward situations.

A great aspect of this movie is that it seems plausible. Could someone actually pretend to report on a war while living across the street from their workplace? That is exactly what Ian (Gervais) and Frank (Bana) do, after Ian manages to lose their passports. Complete with background noises of forests and gunfire, they manage to fool the radio company they work for, though some of the scenes really stretch the line of believability. Special-Correspondents

Gervais and Bana play well off each other, though Bana’s character doesn’t receive a character arc. He is essentially the supporting actor, as Gervais has most of the funny lines and his character arc is very well executed. His wife also has interesting character development, which affects Ian and vice-versa. Bana manages the supporting role well, never-under or over-playing his role. As the straight man, compared to the bumbling Ian, Frank coaxes some laughs himself by delivering some of his funny lines in a deadpan manner.


What initially seemed like a good idea soon gets the two into trouble that you won’t see coming, though you will probably see the end coming, which is a shame. In addition to some 4.5 beer - no beer topimplausible scenes, the film isn’t thigh-slapping hilarious. Like most of Gervais’ work, it elicits a lot of chuckling, but few moments that will have you in stitches. This is unfortunately where the movie fails the most – the humour isn’t plentiful, and the film has little drama or action to back it up.

One and half beers short of sixer

4.5/6

26 Comments on “SPECIAL CORRESPONDENTS [2016]

  1. Nice review Jordan. I’m one of Gervais’ biggest fans (I even enjoyed The Invention of Lying) but I was massively disappointed by Special Correspondents. I think the film’s central conceit is clever but Gervais never takes the satire to its fullest level, not to mention the story’s predictability. I really wanted to like SC but ultimately found it a very underwhelming experience.

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    • Yeah, I again was probably too nice with the score. I didn’t find it predictable though, apart from the ending. I do agree that the concept was great, but yeah he didn’t take the satire high enough, which is what he usually is so good at

      Liked by 1 person

      • Between this and Derek, I think Gervais’ comedy has grown too nice (well, apart from the Golden Globes that is). I wish he would try to do something more like The Office or Extras again, where he mixed cringe comedy with emotion.

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      • You didn’t like Derek? I thought it was good, but I do agree that The Office and Extras were much better with drama and emotion combined with the awkward situation based comedy.

        I’m sure it was because Merchant wasn’t aboard, Gervais isn’t as hot as he thinks he is without Merchant. I dunno if they had a falling out but I’m fairly sure Merchant didn’t work on Derek, and definitely didn’t work on this. I think it shows.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I only saw the first couple of episodes of Derek and was sorely disappointed. I really wanted to like the show but it wasn’t my thing.

        I agree that Gervais’ best work has been his collaborations with Stephen Merchant. His writing really adds a lot of depth and I thought Hello Ladies was a very underrated series.

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      • It’s a show Merchant created and starred in a couple of years back on HBO. I really liked it and was glad to see Merchant in a starring role. I also enjoyed his appearance in Portal 2 as well.

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  2. Nice review Jordy! I’ve been waiting for this one 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed it, I wasn’t too sure what to expect really – from your review I mean, I haven’t watched it myself yet but I thought it could be a Hit or a Miss. I didn’t realise Gervais directed it as well! And as for writing it – no wonder he had all the good lines lol.

    Very decent summary in any case and certainly makes me want to watch it! I think Eric Bana is such a dude anyway.

    Definitely agree Gervais is love or hate. I do really like him (mainly due to The Office) but I can totally see why people get irritated by him as well. Sometimes he just needs to step down and admit he’s wrong as he comes across quite argumentative to the point of being immature sometimes. His voice always stands out I think too and not in a good way. I know Brits are popular in American movies right now but something about HIS voice in particular, it just sticks out way too much lol.

    Wow, sorry, long comment!!

    Signing out now Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm’Kay 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah he doers come off as a bit arrogant and ‘intellectual’, especially in those podcasts with Karl.

      Its on Netflix, so its worth watching for sure. I really liked Eric Bana too

      His voice does stand out somehow doesn’t it? Weird. I think that is what makes his character here very reminiscent of his character from Extras and Derek

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know I’m in a minority but I really don’t find the whole Karl Pilkington thing funny – mainly because I can’t SERIOUSLY believe that he is the way he portrays himself! He obviously isn’t and it seems so contrived. Extras and Derek are both good!

        Yeah his voice really sticks out lol I’m not even sure why but more so than many British comics who are doing the ‘US thing’ 🙂

        I’ll certainly watch Special Correspondents! How can I not! 🙂

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      • I love Karl. I don’t think he is faking anything, I’ve listened to all their podcasts, their early radio days…. That is Karl. He may have exaggerated it a bit for the Idiot Abroad series, but he has been exactly like that since he was on XFM 15 years ago

        Liked by 1 person

      • I knew I was in a minority lol. I’m basing it all on Idiot Abroad though, I’ve never listened to his podcasts or radio so that’s fair enough! I believe what you tell me 🙂

        But NO-ONE actually packs Monster Munch in their suitcase instead of clothes. It was stuff like that I didn’t like – I’m not saying he’s not miserable and introverted – I’m sure he is, but I never liked that Idiot Abroad series because I could not swallow it. Much to the horror of pretty much everyone I know haha 🙂

        You listen to XFM?! That’s so cool!!! It’s not even that big a radio station in the UK lol, I listen to it too sometimes!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah he upped the stupidity for that show, no doubt about it. But in his early XFM days, he was just ‘pushing buttons’. Then Ricky and Steve started engaging with him and realised that he has this incredibly unique personality and outlook on life. And from there he began more prominent on the radio show, creating competitions that used puns soooo horribly, and Ricky would be laughing at him cos Karl looked all satisfied like he had come up with a great clue. Its great stuff to listen to, if you are so inclined, grab it off the internet. Their entire collection is easy to find, even at 15 years old I still like to listen to them on occasion. And then there are all the podcasts which are even better! Did you ever watch The Ricky Gervais Show? That was all material from various podcasts, made even funnier by that awesome animation.

        HEAD LIKE A FUCKING ORANGE!!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Haha! Those bad pun jokes sound so funny, nothing funnier than seeing someone all smug thinking how clever they are and in actual fact it’s the total opposite!

        I’m really glad you filled me in with all this 🙂 I only based my opinion on An Idiot Abroad, which I never hated but I just found it hard to believe that he was really like that.

        I didn’t honestly realise that’s how he got discovered too, from being a button pusher at Xfm! Good on him, I’m glad he’s done well for himself.

        I will definitely find that collection and have a listen 🙂 I did watch some of the Ricky Gervais show, I should really watch some more. I prefer him when he works with Stephen Merchant generally.

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      • Oh he is totally better with Merchant, Derek and this movie show that. But there are still laughs to be found here.

        Let me know if you listen to their old XFM recordings from 2001-2003, they are hilarious. Sometimes Ricky would get Karl to study a famous person like Rasputin or Hitler, and then get him to talk about it next show. I’m laughing just thinking about it haha! Then Karl came up with a segment called ‘Educating Ricky’ where he came up with the most ludicrous stories from the internet and honestly believed them. Its comic gold, it really is. And then there was Karl’s competition called ‘Rockbusters’… oh god the puns were so bad they were hilarious. You’ve GOTTA check it out, hit up a torrent site and you’ll find ’em. Its not like you are ‘stealing’ anything, there is no other way to hear them!

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  3. I gotta admit I was surprised to see Gervais and Bana but then again Bana was a stand up comedian before he went Hollywood. I read a couple of scathing reviews of this but I might give it a shot at some point. Gervais is a hit and miss, he can be funny but most of the time he’s so mean-spirited that it’s off-putting. I’m all about self-deprecating British humor, but I think he can get overboard and sound overly cocky.

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    • Oh totally, I’ve listened to all the podcasts he did with Karl and he totally comes off as cocky and ‘intellectual’. I can definitely see how that would put people off. But if you can get over Gervais as a person, there is a lot to enjoy here. Its a Friday nighter, no heavy themes or anything.

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      • Ok sounds good man, I’m still curious to see how these two got on. I’m still sad Eric Bana didn’t become a big star like Hugh Jackman, I mean he’s talented and hunky, but for some reason most of his films didn’t pan out.

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      • Have you seen Chopper? It is Bana like you have never seen him before. But I agree, he hasn’t gotten as big as Jackman, but then again Jackman can do everything! Joel Edgerton is arguably a bigger presence in the US than Bana now

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  4. Great post 🙂 I am a big fan of British humor so I will have to check out this Ricky Gervais comedy. Speaking of which, did you see those youtube videos of him on Sesame Street with Elmo? I have not seen it yet, but a lot of my friends have said that it is downright hilarious 🙂 I know on that previous post regarding 8 1/2, I talked about Ken Russell and you were interested in some of his films. If you want to check out what awesomeness you will see in his films, go on IMDB and search all the films he directed and then go to youtube and type in for example “The Devils trailer” or “Tommy trailer Ken Russell” and you will be blown away 🙂 On my site, I also have a post about my favorite films of Ken Russell. Feel free to check that out whenever you want 🙂 Anyway, keep up the great work as always 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cool! I hope you like it, though I definitely think Gervais is way better with Merchant on board writing. I don’t know if they fell out or what, but they haven’t done anything together since An Idiot Abroad, which was about four years ago?

      Liked by 1 person

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