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Directed by Ricky Gervais
Written by Ricky Gervais
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.
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 implausible 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