Starring: Ricky Gervais, Eric Bana, Vera Farmiga
Director: Ricky Gervais
Running Time: 100 mins
Special Correspondents is a British/American film about two New York radio journalists who fake travelling to Ecuador to cover a civil war, however their reporting makes a bigger impact in America than they expected, putting them in hot bother.
I didn’t really enjoy this film. As far as comedies go, it’s a pretty poor one, featuring no more than one or two chuckles throughout the entire runtime, whilst the performances from a pretty good cast are very poor too. The only saving grace for Special Correspondents is its story, which, although it starts badly, develops into a fun and silly enough adventure mixed in with some interesting satirical elements, making this an ultimately watchable, but not hugely enjoyable film.
I’m going to start with what I was most disappointed by in this movie, and that was the comedy. It’s written by Ricky Gervais, who’s written some of the funniest and most intelligent comedies in history with TV shows The Office and Extras, so you would think that, with his expertise, you’d be certain to have a good laugh with this film.
Unfortunately, this really isn’t a funny film. A couple of jokes got me to muster up a chuckle, but that was it, and I was continuously frustrated by the amount of dumb, dull and predictable jokes being thrown around in Special Correspondents, when I know that Gervais can do so much better. The humour here was so lightweight and unfunny that it felt like a daytime TV movie rather than a proper comedy, which was really disappointing to see.
Another big shame here was the performances, which were all round pretty poor. Again, it’s a cast of decent actors, in Eric Bana, Ricky Gervais and Vera Farmiga, but none of them, nor their co-stars, do much to make this film even a little better. Bana and Gervais’ characters may be wafer-thin, but the two don’t have the greatest on screen chemistry, and it means that their various escapades just aren’t as enjoyable as they should have been.
There was a lot to be disappointed by in this movie, but the one thing that did work was the plot. Basically, it’s the ridiculous story of two journalists who, after a mishap, end up hiding in a loft in New York pretending to be in Ecuador.
That’s a small summary of the first act of the movie, which is in truth the weakest, but where the story really works is in the last half, where it stops trying to be a full-out comedy, and introduces some satirical elements. They’re nothing we’ve never seen before (in fact we’ve even seen it in a previous Gervais-written film: The Invention Of Lying), but the way that the whole world gets caught up in the two guys’ situation is done in a relatively entertaining and clever way, which was nice to see.
The film finishes on a high note with regards to its plot, but with regards to its comedy, it never even had a chance to pick up. This was a massively disappointing film to watch simply because it wasn’t anywhere near as funny as the multitude of jokes showed it was trying to be, and even though its story was engaging, I didn’t have a great time with Special Correspondents, and that’s why it gets a 6.5 from me.