Life’s Too Short Season 1 DVD Review
Series created by Warwick Davis, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
Written and Directed by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant
The team behind The Office and Extras, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, are back with another HBO/BBC co-production: Life’s Too Short, now available on DVD from HBO Home Entertainment. Life’s Too Short stars Warwick Davis, star of Willow and Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, as he plays an egotistical and self centered version of himself. Returning to the faux documentary style with great success in the Office, the question remains will that style work for them a second time in Life’s Too Short?
The seven episode series centres on Warwick Davis, or a fictional version of him, who is one of Britain’s preeminent dwarf actors, or at least he is desperately attempting to hold on to the title. Warwick also runs an agency dedicated to finding for other dwarves: Dwarves for Hire, along with his dimwitted secretary Cheryl (Hanson). Some feel Warwik abuses this position in order to keep the roles for himself. Warwick is also going through a divorce from his wife Sue (Enright). Davis is also frequently visiting the offices of Gervais and Merchant, playing versions of themselves, who quite frankly cannot be bothered dealing with Davis and frequently offer him terrible advice. We follow Warwick through a series of embarrassing and uncomfortable sequences, but despite his brash and callous posturing, we still find a way to cheer him on in the long run.
Life’s Too Short is sort of a mixed bag of a series. The show is very hit and miss, but when it hits the results are hilarious. A lot of the series focuses on putting Davis into very awkward social experiences, which can still be funny, but do tend to become monotonous as a lot of them focus on Warwick’s height. Warwick is really good here in the role of a smarmy, creepy and outright despicable at times former ‘star’ desperately trying to hold on. His treatment of people, especially the women in his life, is callous and unforgivable for the most part, but comes from a deep seeded desire to succeed as fame and fortune continue to slip away. Gervais and Merchant are here in supporting roles, popping up for a couple of minutes each episode in their office. Warwick’s right hand is the loveable Cheryl played with aplomb by Hanson. Her Cheryl is responsible for some of the biggest laughs from the show regulars.
Much Like Extras, Life’s Too Short features a litany of guest stars from famous friends. This time around we get Liam Neeson, Johnny Depp, Sting, Steve Carrell, Helena Bonham Carter and Cat Deely. Neeson’s turn is almost worth buying the disc alone, as his appearance ranks as one of the best things Merchant and Gervais have ever written and will have you doubled over in laughter. But the Depp and Bonham Carter turns are underwhelming, especially Depp’s turn which makes him look petty and creepy. Much like The Office, Life’s Too Short features very minimal locations and keeps the filming to a simple handheld style. The faux documentary style does not stay static though, as with the Office, there are the times that the camera is roaming and does not stick strictly to the documentary style to move the story along.
The set includes a half-hour making of special, half an hour of behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes and outtakes. The making of special is very funny, with a lot of Ricky Gervais busting out laughing on set and a hilarious take with Gervais refusing to call cut at the end of the featurette. The behind the scenes segments are fun, though most are repeated from the ‘making of ‘special. The outtakes are mainly busted takes as people on set laugh uncontrollably.
Life’s Too Short is not a perfect series, there are many areas that fall flat, are genuinely uncomfortable to watch or are just not funny. But the series when at its best is one of the most insightful and funny pieces of entertainment out there, shedding light on issues that dwarves deal with every day mixed into the ludicrous antics of Davis and his own issues with his height. These moments are when the series tend to work best. With a sale price under $25 on Amazon, Life’s Too Short is worth a buy for some of its best moments, the Neeson appearance alone, and is well worth a rental. Life’s Too Short is a recommend.
Till Next Time,
Movie Junkie TO
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