Special Correspondents is an admirable comedy in terms of concept but not necessarily in terms of presentation.
This original film from Netflix is about a radio journalist (Eric Bana) and his sound engineer (Ricky Gervais) who, after failing to get into Ecuador, fake a war report from a café.
As their reports get more popular the pair expand their story, going as far as pretending to be held hostage by terrorists.
With the U.S. government involved the two realize they’ve bitten off more than they could chew.
The concept is brilliant and to Gervais’ credit he does take advantage of its potential, especially in terms of plot.
There are many twists and turns which I didn’t expect.
For example, there’s one scene where Bana and Gervais are walking around in the city and are suddenly called by the station and are put on air.
They panic. They make tank and plane noises, trying to make this New York street sound like a war-zone.
The situation gets worse and worse which forces the characters to take more drastic measures. This results in some amusing scenes.
Unfortunately this is as far as the film goes with the concept’s potential.
In the first act the characters’ weaknesses and desires are literally stated in the dialogue.
Lines like “I haven’t done anything extraordinary” and “I’m destined for bigger things” immediately make the characters feel artificial.
Despite the occasional good joke most of the film’s comedy consists of awkward exchanges, pop culture references and toilet humor.
Special Correspondents isn’t a spectacular comedy but if you’re a Ricky Gervais fan and don’t mind a few giggles, I’d check it out. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it.
I give Special Correspondents 5 out of 10.