Ricky Gervais has returned to breathe life into his most-loved character, but some reviewers say the office door should have stayed closed on this one.

Reviews have started landing for David Brent: Life on the Road, the feature length film based on the deluded boss from two successful seasons of Gervais' sitcom The Office.

Like Brent's management techniques, they're all over the place.

In a two-star review, The Guardian called the film "small, shabby and outdated".


"It's clear from early on that this is a Ricky Gervais solo outing. The moderating influence of his Office co-creator Stephen Merchant (not involved - something about "schedules") is missing, leaving a patchy comedy that lacks discipline," wrote reviewer Henry Barnes.

"There were braver things that Gervais could have done with the character. The bravest being leaving him where he was."

IGN agreed, saying "fans of the show will feel like they've seen variations on many of the jokes before".

"It's Ricky's writing that lets the film down; the storyline repetitive, predictable and filled with jokes you can see coming a mile off," said reviewer Chris Tilly.

The Telegraph had a completely different take, saying Gervais was at his "toe-twistingly funny and poignant best" in a four-star review.

"Even after all these years, the character still fits Gervais as comfortably as a Sergio Georgini sports jacket," wrote Robbie Collin, who said the character had aged well.

"There's also an excruciating new addition to Brent's arsenal of comic tics - a kind of strangulated, ingratiating groan from the back of the throat that's pure mid-life desperation distilled into a single squeak."

Screendaily agreed, saying the film showed "Ricky Gervais' determination to keep pushing the audience through the pain barrier, with a steady onslaught of excruciating cringe comedy".

"Nostalgic fans should squirm to their heart's content through the consistently entertaining, fitfully inspired Life On The Road, with home market the UK likely to yield the richest returns, both theatrically and in ancillary."

The film has a 60 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

David Brent: Life on the Road debuts here on September 1.