In my view Episode 2 of Life’s Too Short was a big improvement on the first. All the material with Warwick at the Sci-Fi convention was fantastic, the argument with the woman about her son who had a tumor was particularly classic Gervais & Merchant writing. The exchange with his assistant where they brainstorm ideas to make money (“You could be a chimney sweep”) is also hilarious with her suggestion that he could be used as bait to catch paedophiles particularly amusing.
Later in the episode we got a cameo appearance from a Mr. Johnny Depp. Although very funny there were bits of Depp’s storyline which felt a bit self-indulgent. In particular the references to Gervais’s Golden Globes jokes which got a lot of publicity at the time for being pretty insulting to some of the Hollywood A-listers present at the event. The trouble with all this self-referential comedy is that his jokes really weren’t all that offensive (something he says himself) and the whole controversy felt pretty forced. For him to then write a whole part about Depp being very offended then feels a bit much. Like Gervais thinks he’s as important as the media makes him out to be. With all that said it was funny so I have no big complaints.
The funniest part was left for last however with Gervais & Merchant going back to their The Office roots with a fantastically embarrassing sequence where Warwick makes an uninvited speech at a wedding he has been hired to dress up as an Ewok at (he doesn’t have an Ewok costume so has to dress as a bear). If you were the kind of person who had to watch The Office from behind the Sofa while cringing then this scene will have you reliving all those traumatic memories as you’re left aghast at Davis’s brilliant portrayal of an ego-maniac who just happens to be a dwarf!
What’s still not working for me is the constant looks to the Camera, especially from Gervais in the Johnny Depp scenes. The looks worked in The Office because Brent was showing off for the camera but Gervais is here playing himself so he is playing the man who actually wrote that brilliant sitcom. Because of that it feels very unnatural to see him look at the camera whenever one of the celebrities (Neeson, Depp, Warwick) does something weird. You’re playing yourself, we know you wrote all this, so forget the camera and look to Steve or Warwick in bewilderment and the scenes would work even better in my opinion!
That criticism aside I was very happy to see the show improve as it got into its stride this episode. I have lots of hope for the rest of the series!
Some External Reviews:
- The Metro (who have no credibility in my eyes after repeatedly reviewing An Idiot Abroad negatively) were not too imrpessed saying ”Life’s Too Short couldn’t even be saved by Johnny Depp”.
- The Huffington Post is mostly positive but shares some of my sentiments on the contrived tone of the Gervais / Depp exchange. Especially as Gervais has just agreed to host the awards for a third time.
- If you’d like to suggest a review to add here please post it in the comments below. Thanks