Ricky Gervais has been keeping busy, with both his Netflix movie Special Correspondents coming out at the end of the month, and his David Brent-led Life on the Road film ramping up production. But while Gervais’ cachet has allowed him to cast his movies full of great actors and some big stars, without his Office co-creator Steven Merchant, there always seems to be a little something missing. The work the two did on The Office and Extras changed television (especially in the case of the former, though the latter is very underrated), and their collaborations with Karl Pilkington — from back in their radio talk show days to Pilkington’s more recent travel series — remain some of their most memorable and unique work.
But the group hasn’t collaborated closely for awhile, and it’s a shame given the freedom that Netflix could have afforded them with other projects, but that’s coming from someone who was a massive fan of that early work (including the unexpected gems of those old XFM shows). Gervais has certainly amassed a huge following, and Special Correspondents can boast an incredible cast that includes Eric Bana, America Ferrara, Benjamin Bratt, Vera Farmiga, Raúl Castillo and Kelly MacDonald in addition to Gervais, who also wrote and directed it. But Gervais also has a very specific comedic and acting style that really is best suited to more improvised, mockumentary settings, especially when he sets himself up as the foil for markedly more polished co-stars, which can make it feel like two different movies in one. Gervais can be brilliant but sometimes this amalgam on film doesn’t add up perfectly (although Farmiga is really perfect in the trailer).
The new trailer for Special Correspondents also feels a little messy, and doesn’t give casual viewers a very clear idea of what the story is about, or a particularly great reason to watch it. Still, trailers can be misleading (for better or worse), and given the stellar cast, maybe the movie will end up looking a little different than it’s currently being presented. Special Correspondents premieres Friday, April 29th on Netflix. Check out the new trailer below:
Here’s the official synopsis for Special Correspondents:
Special Correspondents, a new Netflix original feature film was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and stars Eric Bana (Deliver Us From Evil, Lone Survivor) and Gervais (Muppets Most Wanted, Derek). The film is about a struggling New York based radio journalist whose arrogance and decadent lifestyle has hindered his career. With his job on the line, he fakes front line war reports from the comfort of his hideout above a Spanish restaurant in Queens.
The film also stars Vera Farmiga (Bates Motel, Up in the Air), Kelly Macdonald (Boardwalk Empire, Brave), Kevin Pollak (The Usual Suspects, Casino), America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, How to Train Your Dragon), Raúl Castillo (Looking, Cold Weather), and Benjamin Bratt (Modern Family, 24: Live Another Day).
The film is a co-production between Bron Studios and Unanimous Entertainment. The producers are Gervais, Unanimous’ Chris Coen, Bron’s Aaron L. Gilbert, Manuel Munz, and Larry Sanitsky. Jason Cloth and Ron McLeod are executive producers.