on 9 December 2011
Let me start off by saying I absolutely love Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
The Office is obviously brilliant, even today and offset the American series, which is equally fantastic.
Extras, in my opinion, was actually better.
The podcasts with Karl Pilkington, as well as An Idiot Abroad, again were very good.
Movie wise, Gervais seems to fail... i.e. The invention of lying. Very poor film.
Nonetheless, I was very much looking forward to this series.
Having watched the 5 so-far aired shows, I am disappointed.
There are some funny moments, but considering this a comedy show, they are very few and far between.
The Depp and Neeson scenes are excellent, but most of the show can be easily critisized.
I'm not really sure what it is about Warwick Davis.
His character (in this series) mimicks Gervais in Extras and The Office.
You can very much liken him to David Brent.
However, it just doesn't work very well.
The awkward moments don't seem very awkward, and the show is predictable.
I have no problem with laughing at dwarfs or any other subject that some may perceive as offensive.
The show centres around Warwick being small (as you would guess), but it's overused.
There's a scene in episode 4, for example, where Warwick climbs a bookcase in order to reach a trophy.
You can see what's going to happen a mile off, and it's very un-funny.
A lot of what gets put in to the show seems too familiar. Meant-to-be awkward semi-racist moments aren't funny.
Not in the sense that people will take offense. They're just plain un-funny.
It seems the best scenes are kept for Merchant and Gervais, and you don't see enough of them frankly.
The sense of realism is gone too.
In Extras, for example, the character work was so well done.
You may recall a scene where Gervais is pretending to be religious in order to get with a lady.
Of course, he gets found out and questioned by the priest about his real beliefs.
This was commonplace for that series.
With this one, the characters aren't believable.
Warwick's assistant (Cheryl) is over-exaggerated. Again referring to episode four, why would Warwick trust her to run the house viewing, knowing her people skills? If the show worked and was funny, you could forgive it, but it unfortunately isn't.
I really wanted to like this show, but it's average at best.
Feel free to leave a comment to disagree, but I can't see how this show would be considered a classic like previous works.
For Gervais fans, this will prove to be a massive let down.
I will watch the last 2 episodes, but I'm certain they will be just the same.
The concept for the show sounds great on paper, but is poorly implemented.
3/5 may be over-generous.
P.S. Gervais - we know you're an athiest. Not a problem. But must you remind everyone in all your works?
Mehhh - I still love you. And your laugh.
on 16 April 2015
Very good comedy and Warwick Davis is brilliant. if you like The Office and Extras then you will definitely enjoy Life’s Too Short, although they are so similar you may find yourself making comparisons, Warwick’s character is basically another version of David Brent and there are so many similarities, which isn’t necessary a bad thing. I do think though I would have enjoyed it even more had I never seen The Office and Extras as the humour would be so fresh.
There are some hilarious scenes acted out brilliantly by all the actors, certain scenes still had me still laughing for ages afterwards - when Warwick and his accountant are in a nightclub and they try to chat up two girls - when he goes on a second date with someone he met through an agency and then tries to catch the attention of another woman in front of his date, and I really loved Liam Neeson’s scene.
I would definitely recommend it.
on 21 December 2011
Like many other reviewers here, I'll happily confess to being a long-standing fan of Gervais and Merchant, and own The Office, Extras and stand up dvds to prove it. That having been said, it's not too much of a stretch to guess that there's a big 'but' on its way...
...and so here it is: 'But Warwick just isn't funny'. You can argue that Life is somewhat under-written compared to its illustrious predecessors, and would need a bravura central performance to pull it out of the ordinary - but Warwick just hasn't got the funny bones to do it. He comes across as an arch, mannered David Brent clone, sneaking the same sideways-to-camera glances from behind the self-deluded pomposity. Whilst Ricky Gervais pulled it off effortlessly - partly because of the originality of his approach, and partly the perverse against-your-natural-instinct likeability of his ego (Tony Hancock and Leonard Rossiter had cracked that particular angle many years ago), Warwick comes across as a clunking parody, and it doesn't make for easy viewing. And the supporting characters don't rip up any trees either: you expect a bit more from Cheryl the PA than the gormless vacuity already trotted out by actress Rosamund Hanson in This is England; Warwick's accountant is a chronically unfunny beardybore (the divorce settlement wrestling scene was especially juvenile); and even the potential guffaws around the 'legendary' (arf) trio of Barry, Les and Cheggers never really arrive. So what's next in the formula you wonder - Su Pollard and Don Estelle grafting as vengeful traffic wardens whilst they work on the murder mystery musical script that's going to break them big in Hollywood?
The guest star appearances flutter briefly into life, but they don't have the impact of those from Extras - perhaps it's a gag too far now. Gervais has done a lot better in the past, and I've no doubt he'll hit the high points again in future. Overall verdict: no more buts - give it a miss.
on 20 April 2012
As the DVD has not yet been released, my review is about the televised version. The hype for this show really did this programme a lot of damage, as it did not seem to promote the series as a 'comedy' in the true sense. We were all lead to believe that this was going to be a gritty look at the struggle of a man of short stature making it any way he could in the world of show-business. Gervais said he is an unlikeable character, who screws people across to get what he wants. It appeared that we were going to get something a little dark and maybe sinister. What we actually got was a slapstick dwarf-fest of painful gags and some atrocious acting. yes those little guys have not made it because they are actually bad actors! So it fails before any real point can be made. The lazy premise of someone going through a divorce and being a victim of circumstance has been done so often it ends up being clichéd beyond belief.
Davis himself was (and is) annoying. He was trying to act, but honestly...he cannot. It all feels like something that has been cobbled together from a short bit in 'extras', which only showed Warwick Davis briefly. That is why it worked then and not now. His mere extended presence on screen became the dead-weight of the show. Worse still he appears to be doing a very bad impression of Ricky Gervais. The constant mugging at the camera, as yet another situation unfolded became tiresome after the first 10 minutes of episode one.
To add insult to injury, Ricky and Stephen Merchant make cameos, playing themselves, which broke the wall between what they had done before. So were they characters, or themselves as they really are? Their palatial office was festooned with posters from their previous hits and misses. It was not subtly done and I suspect this was serving as a sort of on-screen resume, so as to remind the viewers of whose company were were in. Equally Warwick Davis had to keep reminding viewers of his previous 'bits'. The sad thing is of course, he really was a bit player in all of the things he did. So the joke did not work. As it is stating something we already know.
The other fatal mistake of this show was to bring in elements of the first two programmes made by Gervais and Merchant. The use of Keith chegwin - Les Dennis - and Barry from Eastenders only helped to mess this show up even more. Once again, were they playing themselves or were they parodies? It was as if material from the past was eating itself, consequently, It only served to confuse the plot and worst of all - lacked any genuine humour. It all seemed re-heated and done before. Almost like a last-minute thought, to fill out the weak main story.
The main story was generally weak, with the occasional 'celebrity' being brought in the give that extra sparkle. As it happened - it all fizzled out quite quickly. Apparently 'stars' are queueing to appear in one of Gervais's shows. Well - you could have fooled me.
I loved 'The Office' and 'Extras', but this latest series just comes across as half thought out and lazily written. Some bits look so throw in, it actually becomes embarrassing to watch.
The pathos of the main character is lost, by his glaring inability to act, which seemed to match perfectly the wooden performances given by the rest of the ensemble. Warwick's secretary being a perfect example of poor acting and poorly realised and written character.
There is so much more to write here...but I could go on and one about how awful this is.
Any message of inequality or lack of social understanding that this show was supposed to be giving, was completely lost by the slapdash approach of the makers.
Apparently there will be a season two, Which would suggest that there was always going to be a follow up.
After the abysmal 'Episodes', which appeared on our screens in 2011 and was panned by all who saw it, 'Life's Too Short' now (IMHO) takes the trophy for the worst
comedy to appear on TV in a fair number of years. And there have been some other real stinkers in recent times.
The recent one-off 'Derek' made by Gervais, was in my opinion a much better programme, despite the unnecessary slapstick, it still had heart and ended up having the desired effect.
Comedy is subjective and maybe you will disagree with everything written here.
Personally, I will not be buying this on DVD.
4 out of 10
on 5 December 2011
The first time I saw Ricky Gervais, it was like a breath of fresh air. His performance on the 11'oclock show seemed to offer something different from all the other comedian's at the time. I adored the fact his comedy seemed to be "ironically offensive". A stroke of genius in my book. His career went on to bigger and better things: `The Office' is a classic British sitcom. The American version has, in my opinion, morphed into one of the finest comedy shows that America has to offer.
His Stand Up shows are enjoyable, but you get the feeling that he never cut his teeth on the comedy circuit. His colleague Stephen Merchant is surprisingly more apt in this department. After a few years in Hollywood making the enjoyable `Ghost Town' and the surprisingly good `Cemetery Junction', Ricky has finally returned to what some consider he does best, the sitcom...
Fans of Ricky's and Stephen Merchant's work will probably find a lot to like about `Life's Too Short', but for me the main problem is that the show's format is no different to what they did in `The Office' and is now starting to feel slightly dated. Rather than creating cleverly constructed comedic situations for the suffering star- Warwick Davies- it feels like Ricky and Steve have simply sat round listing all the funny things they would like to see happening to dwarf, and then crow-barred those scenes into each episode. In that respect, the humour comes across as rather low brow, which I am sure is the last thing Ricky would want associated with one of his shows.
Another issue I had was with the secondary characters. They are badly written and two dimensional, and are simple mechanisms to annoy Warwick Davies. For instance, in one scene a woman films Warwick on her mobile phone. I think this was meant to be funny, but I just didn't see where the humour was coming from, it all felt somewhat tiresome and rather childish.
Again, the show is presented to us in that, all to familiar, "mockumentary" style that he helped popularise, and I just think that format of television making, has now become tired. Also, I feel that nowadays, Ricky seems to be trying to hard to protect his legacy, as if there is a fear to try and create something too different from what he has done before. Perhaps he should take a leaf from David Bowie's book, for Bowie has never shied away from developing his art, and discarding his old fan-base.
Try something different Ricky, otherwise admiration from the fan base that you feel you deserve will simply disappear, and you'll be left with the type of fans that simply laugh at a Dwarf being placed inside a plastic bin. I'm not sure Ricky wants his fans to be described as "low-brow".
However, credit where credit is due, Warwick Davis does his absolute best with the material provided, and he should be acknowledged for his excellent performance.
on 21 December 2011
Yes, there were high expectations. We hoped that, although unlikely that Gervais and Merchant would match their previous excellence, at least the same effort would have been applied in creating something original and funny. An effort worthy of their previous perfection.
What did we get? Warwick Davis doing a David Brent impression, to a rehashed Extras-style i.e. unoriginal script.
If we had never seen The Office or Extras before, then yes, this would have been a very funny sitcom. However, the very reason we loved The Office and Extras was the fact we had NOT seen them before!
Ricky and Steve took months writing just one episode of The Office... and it showed. The fact that Life's Too Short was written rapidly from a position of 'lazy success', and with no attention to detail, really lowers the respect level demanded by Gervais and Merchant. It seems Ricky and Steve are either great at spending their time writing a show, or spending their time as 'celebrities'. Unfortunately when they try to spend their time doing both, it is the work that suffers.
Ricky is moving in showbiz circles now, Tweeting, sticking to his diet, trying to impress Dawkins, Hitchens (RIP), Larry David, De Niro, etc, etc, etc. No wonder he doesn't have any time to devote to actually writing a good series.
We should have seen the writing on the wall when The Invention of Lying came out. After that movie, Science stand-up and this 'effort' of a show, it is time for Ricky to ease back on the smug attitude until he actually does something worthwhile again.
Oh and by the way Ricky fans... I hope you have gone back to watch all of the Alan Partridge shows to see if the allegations of Ricky ripping off Steve Coogan are true? Do it, and be amazed at how many times you will say... "Jesus, Ricky directly copied that idea/gesture/concept/expression/joke (Camp David?)/show".
on 13 January 2015
quite simply, this is perfect, funny as fxxk, tragic and brilliant, hell its the gervais way, he writes this with merchant and its flawless, it could be better than the office, extras, hell even derek but i wont state that just yet until i watch this over and over again but it has blown me away. Warwick davis is brilliant here, playing a loser version of himself who has ideas above his current station and he is a real flop in life now and he is comedy gold, we even get barry from eastenders, keith chegwin, les dennis, the supporting cast is great, everyone excels. This is funny stuff, like really, i had tears from laughing and i havent said that in years , its a world class thing and i want more. i need it.
on 26 October 2012
This series is laugh out loud funny. from daft comedy bits like warwick falling out of his car and great cameo roles from some huge hollywood actors. Johnny depp and liam neeson superb. Highly recommended. excellent
on 11 January 2015
very very funny, really enjoyed watching this over xmas, ricky gervais and stephen merchant are masters of this style of comedy,great performances all round and the real star of this Warwick Davis is a genius, loved Rosamund Hanson who plays Warwicks PA, and Steve Brody who's Warwicks accountant. i laughed until it hurt all the way through this. hope they team up for a second series.
on 7 January 2012
I loved this series . I didn't find it offensive at all and as a dwarf myself, I thought most of the jokes were about Warwick's' personality more than his size. A laugh-out loud mockumentary and highly recommended.