A local Celebrity radio news reporter (Eric Bana) and his useless and pathetic sound technician (Ricky Gervais) get caught up in a web of lies after they pretend to be reporting on location about a rebel uprising in South America.
Special Correspondents has all the makings of a great comedy film. Ricky Gervais at the helm, Netflix as producers and some stellar cast members. Unfortunately it isn’t great. It’s actually a really big disappointment. I happen to be a really big fan of Ricky Gervais and I think his work in tv has bordered on genius. His skill lies not just with the kind of awkward cringe comedy that you see in The Office, but in the pathos that you see more in Extras (my personal favourite Gervais work). Special Correspondents doesn’t really succeed at giving the audience either of these things. There are a few laughs, and a few moments of empathy but for Gervais this is a real lacklustre attempt. The character he plays particularly seems to just be a mash up of previous characters he has played.
However despite all of that disappointment, Special Correspondents isn’t bad really. It’s a perfectly acceptable comedy and does have some genuinely funny moments. Vera Farmiga and Eric Bana – two actors not really known for their comedic chops – are terrific. But this film should be so much more than acceptable. The story has so many possibilities for funny circumstances but it just doesn’t use them. An irritating squandering of both talent and premise. And yet it is probably a testament to Gervais’ previous successes that after all of that it’s still a decent film.