Ricky Gervais delivers a cringe-tastic performance as David Brent, a paper-company manager and frustrated singer-comedian, who’s never met a work situation he couldn’t turn into a potential lawsuit. Whether accidentally braining a new hire with a soccer ball or hijacking a training session with a sing-a-long of Free Love Freeway, Brent combines a blinkered egocentrism with the pitiable determination to be liked: “I’ve created an atmosphere where I’m a friend first, boss second. Probably entertainer third.” What makes Brent funny is that he’s wrong; what makes him sympathetic is that he really believes he’s right, and with mainly good intentions. He may have been neither a good friend nor boss in the end, but he was certainly entertaining.
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