Sunday, January 17, 2010

Ricky Gervais is the answer to your January blues

Hosting this year's Golden Globes Awards (airing tonight at 7 PM on NBC) is comedian Ricky Gervais, who first proved his brilliant comedic timing in the BBC series The Office and has since moved on to doing films. At past awards shows Gervais appeared as a presenter and lifted audiences out of their boredom with his funny, honest banter, so I can't wait to see what he says as host.  I recommend checking out his past TV and movie roles. His newest movie, The Invention of Lying, is out on DVD this Tuesday.

The Office (2001-2003)
Gervais plays David Brent, the boss at paper company Wernham Hogg's Slough branch. Brent considers himself a chilled out entertainer who likes to have a laugh with his employees. This is a workplace comedy of awkward moments and annoying co-workers at its best. Gervais is co- creater, writer, and director of this series along with Stephen Merchant.
The Complete First Series: Find it in the catalog
The Complete Second Series: Find it in the catalog!

Extras (2005-2007)
Gervais plays Andy Millman, a movie extra who dreams of bigger roles and getting his screenplay "When the Whistle Blows" produced. His friend Maggie (Ashley Jensen) is also a movie extra, and their friendship is a definite highlight of this series for me. Sample conversation starter from Maggie: "Would you rather have a bionic arm or a bionic leg?" Stephen Merchant plays Andy's inept, immature agent to hilarious effect. Each episode features a guest star who makes fun of his or her celebrity image. Written and directed by Gervais and Merchant.
The Complete First Season: Find it in the catalog!
The Complete Second Season: Find it in the catalog!
The Extra Special Series Finale: Find it in the catalog!

Ghost Town (2008)
Dentist Bertram Pincus (Gervais) is not a pleasant person. When Pincus actually dies for several minutes during a hospital procedure he develops the ability to see dead people. It turns out they want his help so they can take care of unfinished business and then be able to cross over, and the absolute last thing Pincus wants is to be surrounded by people who need his help.
Find it in the catalog!

The Invention of Lying (2009; released on DVD this Tuesday)
Set in an alternative universe in which people do not have the ability to lie, Gervais plays Mark Belleson. Belleson has just been fired from his job and needs to make rent when discovers that he can say something false that people accept as fact. He uses this discovery to withdraw more money than he actually has from his bank account, get his job back, and go on a second date with a woman (played by Jennifer Garner) who was not impressed with him the first time around. When his mother is dying and in pain, Belleson comforts her in the hospital by sharing that after she dies she goes to a wonderful place and gets to see all her old friends. This sets off a media frenzy, as everyone wants to know how he knows such information, and Belleson, talking about "the man in the sky," in effect introduces religion to the world. I highly recommend this movie; in the hospital scene Gervais displays some great dramatic acting.
Find it in the catalog!