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Ricky Gervais Is Reviving David Brent for a Mini-Episode 'The Office Revisited'

Here's the trailer for The Office Revisited, a short that Ricky Gervais made in which he'll bring back his character David Brent so we can see what his life is like 10 years later. Brent is now working a lowly job in the music industry while trying to get his music career back on track. You can watch a longer (non embeddable) trailer on YouTube. The Office Revisited will debut on March 15th on Comic Relief's Red Nose Day on BBC. Gervais will post the short on his YouTube channel that same day.

This is the only time he's played Brent since The Office wrapped up in 2003 [...]

Redefining The Finally Screenings with Duck Soup

During a two-week hiatus from The Finally Screenings, I've had a little time to reflect on what this column has accomplished, and where it's headed. To be honest, I've gotten a ton out of writing this every week in addition to the simple pleasure of finally having watched these films. And I'm glad to say it's what I was expecting to get out of it, and more. As a comedy performer and writer, there's only so much you can create without knowing whose shoulders you're standing on — and although I haven't been operating in a total vacuum, providing context for classic bits and quotes I've heard all [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw City Slickers For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

I’m taking a cue from the 1990-93 Academy Awards this week and doing back-to-back Billy Crystal movies. This week, 1991’s City Slickers.

You know how in LOST, we learn that (omg spoilarz) Jacob (good) and the Smoke Monster (evil) are actually brothers, born of one loving mother but twisted into polar opposites by time and a morally dubious influence (their adoptive mother, who murdered their biological one)? For those of you who aren’t [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw National Lampoon's Vacation For the First Time

n The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

Okay, National Lampoon. I finally watched Vacation. And I have a bone to pick.

If you want me to actually enjoy your ridiculous polyester slapstick-fests, you have to give me characters I care about. You don’t get a free pass because you show boobs or have a famous comedian in the lead.

It’s not subjective. It’s a (some might even say the) cornerstone of good storytelling. You need a hero who wants something, [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Beverly Hills Cop For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

I really prepared myself to hate Beverly Hills Cop.

In my defense, it’s a terrible premise on paper. Cool, black Detroit rookie cop goes vigilante in L.A. and is thwarted by ultra-white, by-the-book Beverly Hills police? That’s a recipe for disaster. Imagine the broad, cliché, racist, fish-out-of-water shitstorm this movie could have been – nay, should have been. Even my friends who have seen it — all of them — were a little [...]

Defending the Dark Weirdness of Visioneers

“Welcome to the Jeffers Corporation. The largest and friendliest and most profitable corporation in the history of mankind.”

The first joke in Visioneers is visual: a logo of buildings shaped like a raised middle finger. On the surface it’s juvenile. That surface is promptly removed, along with other expectations foisted by flimsy Netflix descriptors like “quirky” and “understated.” In the world of the film, the gesture has none of the connotation it does in our world. Instead, giving someone the bird is a salutation. That’s how Visioneers works. The film trades in expectations, presenting the familiar without accepting preexisting definitions.

It’s not an easy film to describe [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Christmas Vacation For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

Okay, National Lampoon. You win this round.

Christmas Vacation is the first National Lampoon movie I’ve seen for this column that actually works. Impossible, you say? Well, maybe it’s the benevolent Christmas spirit filling my tiny green Grinch heart. Or maybe it’s some decent characters and set pieces finally given a chance to take on some dimension and relatability.

It’s not that difficult to do, and when it happens it makes a world of [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw When Harry Met Sally For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

A good barometer for whether or not a comedy makes it onto this list is the volume at which the word “NEVER” is shouted in the sentence, “You’ve NEVER seen that?” The higher the volume, the more likely it makes the list. By this point, it’s harder to tell – not because the volume is lower after a few months, but because the damage done to my ears prior to watching Ghostbusters and [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Stripes For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

I just don’t get it, Ramis. I really don’t.

Another pre-Ghostbusters Harold Ramis movie, Stripes feels like another in a line of films that slowly improve until the stars align and inspiration strikes with Venkman, Stantz and Spengler. Believe me, it pains me to write these words. I didn’t want to dislike Stripes any more than I wanted to like Beverly Hills Cop. But we can’t always get what we want.

[...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Raising Arizona For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

Until now I've only run the risk of offending comedy nerds in my blithe ramblings about classic films I should have seen a long time ago, but this week I'm happy to report I also have the potential to offend legit film buffs by my having only just now watched Raising Arizona.

Anyone who has seen Raising Arizona knows that, while funny, it's known more for its influence and renown as a film [...]

For Your Reconsideration: Hamlet 2

It was supposed to be an underdog success stories everyone could get behind. Advance hype had Hamlet 2 pegged to be the 2008 model of Little Miss Sunshine and, more importantly, it had Steve Coogan positioned to finally break through as a bankable star of American comedy. He’d already cracked the mainstream that year with a brief but memorable turn in Tropic Thunder and a killer role in Curb Your Enthusiasm, but Hamlet 2 was set to be both his victory lap and a major crossing of the transom a la Sacha Baron Cohen. Unfortunately, this is not what happened at all. Instead, the movie bombed atomically, greeted by [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Scrooged For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

With the holiday season firmly upon us, I figured it would be appropriate to watch a couple Christmas comedies I've never seen. This week, 1988's Scrooged. I should make the distinction that this isn't really a classic comedy, just a Christmas comedy, and for good reason. Also worth mentioning is the poster for the film, which shows Bill Murray with a Bobcat Goldthwait haircut, which is awesome because Bobcat Goldthwait is in the [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Life of Brian For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

It’s only one day until Thanksgiving, which in 2010 apparently means you’re required by law to act like it’s one day until Christmas. I couldn’t bring myself to watch an actual Christmas comedy on my list (YET), but I did decide to watch a movie that begins with an infant in a manger in Bethlehem — Monty Python’s Life of Brian.

I’ve railed, plenty, against the short shelf-life of social and political satire [...]

The Finally Screenings: I Just Saw Beetlejuice For the First Time

In The Finally Screenings, Alden Ford is watching comedy classics that, because he grew up in a cave in Alaska, he’s never seen before. These are his takes on movies everyone else has seen before.

Spoiler alert: there isn't a lot of meat on the ol' comedy bone in Beetlejuice. It is clearly to be filed under "comedy," it stars a few comedians and a few non-comedians with good chops, and has a great premise for comedy. But — and I say this without judgement — it's not funny, per se. It's more a comedy by Shakespeare's definition — happy ending, no real stakes, harmless villain. Defined as [...]