3 Suggested Cures For Ricky Gervais's Career Rut
At the risk of starting an unnecessary bout of Ricky Gervais backlash (though, hey, if it's good enough for Tina Fey...), something about his career choices of late have been a tad -- how to put this mildly? -- underwhelming. And with the announcement of his new series Life's Too Short (yet another meta look at show business, but this time from the point of view of real-life dwarf Warwick Davis) coming so soon on the heels of his UK film release Cemetery Junction (The Office in the '70s), it seems clear that he's in a rut of repeated ideas. What can Gervais do to break this streak of diminishing returns? Here are some suggestions:
· Play Someone Else
Here's the biggest problem: Gervais -- like Jerry Seinfeld, Woody Allen and Larry David -- has given up being anything other than himself. And it's a great persona, but at this point he's known more for his talk show appearances and presenter/hosting duties than as an actual actor. What's his endgame: To become the British Larry David? If so, mission accomplished.
· Play with Others
Gervais gave his best big-screen performance in Ghost Town (it's true!), and what separates that movie from The Invention of Lying and Cemetery Junction? It wasn't directed by Gervais. (The generally unremarkable David Koepp did the honors.) For every Woody, there's a Kevin Smith. Here's guessing Gervais wants nothing to do with the latter. So it's time he looked to work with some other directors -- and, no: Doing another Night at the Museum with Shawn Levy doesn't count.
· Play the Villain
No, not some mustache twirling turn in the next James Bond film in 2017. I mean a character who could take advantage of the nastiness that Gervais can do so well without having to saddle him with of the pressures of likability that come with being the protagonist. Think: Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones's Diary. Or, failing that: Adam Sandler in Funny People.
Any other recommendations?