Special Correspondents Mini Review

“I think we’re so much better off here in New York than Ecuador. Got wine, snacks, not being shot at.”

Directed by: Ricky Gervais

Starring: Eric Bana, Ricky Gervais, Vera Farmiga, Kelly Macdonald

Synopsis: Radio journalist Frank Bonneville (Eric Bana) plays by his own rules. Sound technician Ian Finch (Ricky Gervais) plays by the rules of others. When the pair miss their flight to Ecuador where they’re supposed to be covering an impending uprising, rather than facing the wrath of their boss they decide to hideout and report the war from the comfort of New York.

Eric Bana's Frank Bonneville and Ricky Gervais' Ian Finch.
Eric Bana’s Frank Bonneville and Ricky Gervais’ Ian Finch.

The most disappointing aspect of Special Correspondents is just how safe it all is. It’s got none of the brash confidence that Gervais brought to The Office, nor the smarts that he brought with Extras. Whilst we regularly see the broader side to Gervais’ comedy, in his own material he tends to bring a bit more subtlety and dryness. Not so much here though. I can’t help but wonder where he’s hiding that stinging un-political correctness that he does so well. That being said, it’s quite telling that he’s the most enjoyable part of the film; he’s not doing anything particularly groundbreaking that we haven’t seen from him before, however he’s at least a likeable, reliable source of humour as Ian.

Which is more than can be said for his wife, the deplorable Eleanor (Vera Farmiga). With absolutely zero redeeming features, it’s a real drag that we have to spend such extended periods in her presence, particularly when much of that time is more awkward than humorous. The same can be said of Eric Bana’s Frank. He’s central to the plot, but doesn’t really undergo any sort of revelation, or change; he starts the film as a jerk and ends it as a jerk. Thankfully Kelly Macdonald is on hand to bring her usual charm, even if her accent wavers from American, to English, to Irish from scene to scene.

It’s unlikely to leave a lasting impression, yet at the least it has its moments of chuckle-inducing entertainment, without ever threatening to be a side-splitter.

Rating (out of 5):

2 Stars

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