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This show is one of the funniest on television at this point in time.
Warwick Davies plays Warwick Davies as a pompous, self-centred, grandiose showbiz dwarf who has fallen on hard times. He as well as Gervais and many other famous starts play themselves as very unlikeable characters-similar to extras, yet with no sympathetic main characters and thus no saving grace. This makes the show very much like Alan Partridge- wry and funny in its painfulness.
The only sympathetic characters in the show are the dwarfs that are in Warwick Davis' (halfhearted) care, yet they are juxtaposed with carnival-esque clownery slapstick as we don't see on television as it is politically incorrect.
This is one of the first shows to give dwarfs a satirical role on prime time television where they are not just used as props, but as people as part of a larger context of society. The show is a lot smarter than given credit for.
After watching episode 1, I wasn't sure if this was anything special,
but episodes 2 & 3 have convinced me that it's excellent. Warwick Davis
is a joy to watch.. as he gets himself into crazy, often cringe-worthy
situations. He really has a knack for comedy with his expressions and
The way it's shot as a fly-on-the-wall documentary, works really well. The scripts are very well-written, so everything flows perfectly, which means it's never anything less than gripping. The celebrity guest appearances are a great idea, with Johnny Depp's scenes being particularly enjoyable.
Overall.. this show feels fresh and full of fun. Sure it's similar to The Office in some ways, but it's much more wacky and amusing. If there's any justice.. it will be a big success. 10/10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Life's Too Short is the new BBC/HBO television series from the comedy
maestro's Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant.
The pair hark back to their 'mockumentary' roots in this new series, whilst blending it with elements of Extras. Gervais (normally a prominent figure), takes a back seat role as the reigns are handed over to Warwick Davis, playing a twisted version of himself. The series plot follows Davis (a former film-star Dwarf) through his life as he struggles to juggle work with his personal life. We see him go through a divorce, struggle to find work, and fail in keeping his 'dwarfs for hire' agency afloat. Gervais and Merchant make cameo appearances in each episode, alongside more of Gervais's new found Hollywood friends.
The hype surrounding this new series may have considerably hindered its eventual impact. Admittedly, my own anticipation and expectations may also have distorted any purely objective view. However, having read many journalistic reviews; I am certainly not alone in my disappointment.
Warwick Davis is a decent actor. However, unfortunately, he fails in carrying the series. His character is a (excuse the pun), mini David Brent. Not only is the character a blatant rehash; but it is also one of the most detrimental factors to the series, as Davis just isn't as funny.
The series failings are certainly not all down to Davis and his performance. The writing is considerably weaker. I lost count of the amount of times the 'Dwarf falls over' visual gag was used. It was mildly amusing the first time, and greeted with silence by the fourth or fifth time.
Davis's constant glances of desperation into the camera fail to capture the essence of Oliver Hardy and Tim Canterbury. This is mainly because, for example; Tim was the 'peoples' character. He represented the normal man. He was rational, funny, and a decent person (in direct comparison to the likes of Brent, Gareth, and 'Finchy'). Davis's character is not this. He is delusional, arrogant, and selfish. In fact, he isn't a likable individual at all (as well as almost every other character in this series). The series lacked scenes in which we could affectively sympathise with Davis. The connection between himself and the audience isn't firmly established because of this. It is another example of how the writing comes short.
The series also boasts an example of a cameo failure. The brief appearance of Steve Carrell (via online video link) crashes and burns. Even the appearances of the much loved Barry and Cheggars (Shaun Williamson and Keith Chegwin), fail to capture the imagination. The series suffers from thematic tiredness. The use of social angst and embarrassment is almost wrung dry.
Highlights of the series include: Liam Neeson's cameo, Johnny Depp's extensive cameo, Davis's accountant (played by the ever reliable Steve Brody), and the final episode. The final episode (featuring Sting amongst others) is the best of the six. It is funnier, and boasts the best narrative pacing of the series. I felt that many of the previous episodes were noticeably disjointed.
I have briefly run through some of the reasons Life's Too Short disappoints. It could be examined further but I'd prefer to leave that to the professionals and to evade any looming sense of boredom within this piece.
The true downfall of the series is the lack of laughter it creates. A comedy is understandably judged on its laugh factor, and unfortunately, I rarely found myself laughing out loud at this series (in stark contrast to The Office and Extras). A surprisingly average offering from the Midas hands of Gervais and Merchant.
I find Life's Too short to be a funny and quirky mockumentary following
Warwick around showing us his (not so) glamorous life as an agent for
other little people. It seems to me that many English viewers are a bit
biased about Gervais, but if you like his other series you'll like
Much of the fun revolves around Ricky's office and there's cameos as usual, including Liam Neeson, Carrel, Depp and more. I've watched the episodes a few times to really take them in, and I'd say it grows on me too. Warwick's parody of himself and the comedy Gervais and Merchant add makes him likable and funny. Most of the fun is based on the fact that he's trying hard to present his business and himself as a little person as more glamorous then it is, but then it's apparent to viewers that it's not. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise, that's what the comedy is about here.
I think other reviewers show they don't pay attention when they say it's cheap or lazy comedy, and criticize Warwick falling off his heightening phone books and out of the car, it comes right after he narrates that he wants to show viewers that he's a classy guy, and that's just funny. Simple, but funny.
Gervais can be annoying. Despite this, I am a fan of almost everything
The Office was outstanding and Extras wasn't bad either.
I kept seeing a few negative reviews about this and for some reason it passed me by.
Recently, I got the chance to see the series. I wasn't expecting much.
Boy, was I wrong! There are so many laugh out loud moments in this series. Soooooo many. At the end of the day, that's what comedy is for...no? Warwick Davis is brilliant in this and shows what a fine actor he really is. He essentially plays a David Brent character in a mockumentary..but really, really well.
Some have criticized the show for being offensive towards smaller people. They just don't get it.
The fact that the main character is little becomes fairly irrelevant. He's just an odious toad! The dumb secretary and the manic depressive accountant are also hilarious characters.
The cringe factor of Gervais' work is always high but this series has a cringe factor through the roof. It can be uncomfortable to watch at times, but you can't take your eyes off it.
I loved it.
A measly 7.7 on here is probably almost as funny as the show.
Watch it and love it.
It is said the comedy is only funny if the character doesn't "know"
he's in a comedy, and Warwick is taking his life really seriously.
Utterly desperate for attention, of any kind, he's getting through from
day to day, actually broke but pretending to be well off. His "fame" is
far in the past, he's out of work, nobody really wants anything to do
with him, but he doesn't give up. He's trying to present himself as an
important celebrity, or a successful womanizer, but his constructs fail
While other reviewers see a strong connection with The office, I see none, other than they both belong to the same genre. The scripting and the idea of the show are original. Funnier than The office too.
First off, I don't understand why some people are criticising this as
being in the same style as The Office and Extras, rehashing old jokes
and concepts. So what? Both shows were funny and this is even funnier.
What's more, this show is missing the pathos the previous shows had,
which reserved some space for us to empathise with some of the
characters, and in doing so, slowed the shows down a bit at times. Not
a bad thing, by any means, but in Life's Too Short we're offered one
great comedy scene after another, with a lovable character who's more
than happy to make us laugh at his expense and pulling no punches with
the material he's given to work with.
The fact that the show guest stars other various celebrities 'playing themselves' (as in Extras), is an aspect that's always welcome to watch. But what's more important of this type of show, is not just the exceptional writing and cringe worthy situations the characters find themselves in, but the facial expressions and comic timing of every character. And when that's done right, as it is here, then I wouldn't mind seeing this kind of comedy rehashed over and over - for some jokes just never get old.
I have to admit when I first started watching coming attractions of this show I wasn't sure what to make of it but after four episodes I am now convinced this is the funniest show on television. I was out one night with a group of friends and we had gone out for a fun time and we all came back at about 2:00am and we decided to watch something on "HBO on demand." We decided to check out "Life's Too Short." We watched one episode after another after another. I have never laughed so hard in my life! We were all dying!! It turned out to be the best night of the weekend. Warwick Davis (star of Willow, Leprechaun, and Ray) turned out to be a great comic actor. I couldn't believe how funny the show was and the situations Davis had got himself into. His secretary is equally funny. His secretary talks very slowly and in an episode after she (his secretary) explained something to him, Davis replied, "Well that took longer than an episode of Columbo." ROFL! Ricky Gervais is a comic genius as he makes fun of dwarfs, the mentally challenged, and just about everyone else in this TV series! It isn't in some people's taste but it really is all in good fun. I give the series ten stars out of ten. It is the best thing on television. Thank you Ricky Gervais!
In writing this review, I think it is only fair to remove any influence
that successes such as The Office, Extras, The Ricky Gervais Show and
An Idiot Abroad may contribute towards it. I find that in doing so, I
may avoid the typically predictable droning about it 'being better or
worse that his last show'. I find that argument boring and it's
narrowing both the potential comparative and the viewers focus when
So, with my 'Gervais' hat now removed, here is my review for 'Life's Too Short', the new mock-umentary from Stephen Merchant and Ricky Gervais.
Gervais cited a number of ideas that had influenced the making of this show. With an influx of those awful, 'look at me' celebrity documentary things in which a television crew follows one, or a number of deranged, fame hungry socialites doing nothing other than sleeping with each other and shopping for new Ugg Boots and push-up bras.
In Warwick Davies, we have the protagonist, albeit an unlikeable one. Desperate to cling on to fame's back side, he invites a 'film crew' to follow him around, heightening his celebrity status at every opportunity. Much like those awful celebrity docu-soaps, Warwick yearns for all and any publicity, hoping blindly that living his life like an open wound would somehow benefit his career. Only...Warwick is a dwarf actor looking to pay a huge tax bill.
He continually annoys Gervais and Merchant, who both play themselves as conduits to Warwick's celebrity life. Warwick seeks their help in finding his way to higher pastures but is continually berated and mocked, mostly for his size. All in all there is an abundance of misfortune in this man's life, and we're party to all of it.
As you'd expect, there is an abundance of 'short jokes' in this. The casual observer would possibly assume a level of discrimination in doing this, feeling Warwick is somewhat exploited. But that could not be further from the truth. Although we see Warwick's immense difficulty with his stature, it is his small mindedness that we are most amused by. Where some might think forcing a dwarf down the toilet is immoral and wrong, others look at his reasons for agreeing this - trying in vain to impress Johnny Depp. Where some might see his hilarious scaling of a bookshelf and think it is somewhat derogatory, others might point out his ridiculous pride in saving face so not to give his ex-wife's new partner the upper hand. These moments are aptly portrayed in such a way as to mock only Warwick's personality and not his disability. This is a 'small man' in mind alone. He is petty, vain, desperate, small minded and arrogant. He is a small 'Alan Partridge' with the same delusions of grandeur that made Alan such fun to watch.
Most of Life's Too Short is familiar to fans of Gervais. His touch is evidently there, and the overall show is stylistically more similar to The Office as oppose to anything else. The physical comedy is done brilliantly and Warwick has such a commanding grasp on this realm. Yet there is too much missing from the show. The writing is just not funny enough. The incredibly funny parts, such as Liam Neeson's scene are too few and far between. I dare say it, but there is too little of Gervais and Merchant. And once more, Barry, Cheggers and Les Dennis are back to provide the odd laugh inbetween, proving the show needed additional comedy from somewhere. Other than Warwick, nothing stood out. Gone are the level of characters such as Tim, Gareth, Darren Lamb, Barry (who we see too little of), Dawn and the lovable Maggie. Finding incredible characters and creating interesting and brilliant people to play them is what Gervais and Merchant have done brilliantly. Yet there's nothing too special here. It's as though they narrowed their view solely to Warwick and forgot about the outer world he'll exist in.
But still, with my Gervais hat still gone, I will review this show on its merits. Ultimately it is very funny in parts. Watching Warwick scale that bookcase had me in tears. Liam Neeson's bit was one of the greatest scenes the guys have written and the whole idea behind the show is still strong. I enjoyed watching Life's Too Short and it was in no way a bad show. The current viewer rating on IMDb is 7.8/10, a little generous for my liking. If I could be more specific, I'd give the show a 7.4/10...or 74/100...or 74%...whatever works.
All in all - not too bad, not too great. Just good.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was expecting so much more. Ricky's previous fly on wall Extras was great, now introduce the small person, who played his part well. It was a sad sitcom, God Bless them for trying, The whole idea was flawed, see a cynical look into the hidden camera jokes were stale. I watched for the stars, Not a good start. Just poor in all ways, is a an allegory of all xxx-ism and bias? No, just a badly acted out script. 0/10 for writing and direction, 10/10 for Warwick doing his best. You can better than this. and I watched it with my mum (74) and the C<>t word was used. And I cringed. Never watched a TV comedy with that particular word. In It's context, did even work, just gratuitous . My God, if this if the future of comedy, I despair. I love swearing, don't get me wrong, but c<>t was not needed, i guess Gervais has a right now...he's a Brit export. "Shut up, Ricky and call your' mum a c<>t to her face". and he probably would. Oh my bah is over Ricky get back to why you made us laugh. and don't buy the box set of "Life is too short"
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