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The Invention of Lying
BLU-RAY disk
02.05.2010 By: Aaron the H
The Invention of Lying order download
Director:
Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson

Actors:
Ricky Gervais
Jennifer Garner
Rob Lowe

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In a world where nobody can tell a lie, one lowly soul (Ricky Gervais) figures out how to, and uses his rare ability to get everything he ever wanted. Well, almost everything.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Despite the original premise and over-abundance of talented comedians, The Invention of Lying feels very un-Gervais-like in itís formulaic treatment and one-joke premise. I wanted to like this movie, as Iím a huge Gervais fan. His British television work as both an actor and writer is legendary (and very un-American), and the only Hollywood film he starred in (Ghost Town) was a delight in large part due to his involvement.

But something went wrong here. All the originality and spontaneity he usually brings to his work is absent, as if he phoned it in for the paycheck, but seeing as how he co-wrote and co-directed this flick, Iím not buying that excuse. Can we blame the other ďcoĒ in this flick, young American Matthew Robinson, who according to Imdb.com has zero previous filmmaking experience? Where did this man come from? How did he hook up with (and then water down) our beloved chubby british anti-hero?

The cast of this film is quite impressive. Joining Ricky are Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Louis CK, Jonah Hill, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey, to name but a few. Thereís also a shit-ton of [very] impressive cameos I wonít ruin for you. But the problem with this film- and this becomes noticeable as early as 5 minutes in- is that thereís only one real joke here; everyone is brutally honest. In my opinion, half of the comedy in any given film comes not from a characterís action, but rather another characterís reaction to it. In The Invention of Lying, when someone says something awkward, there is almost no reaction, thrusting us into a world of near-zombies that just isnít very appealing to watch.

Once Gervaisí bumbling hero figures out how to tell a lie, things get funny again for a few minutes, until that joke wears out its welcome too. From the get-go you can see that the moral of the story is going to be that telling the truth is always the best policy, and sure enough, thatís how Gervais is going to get his girl, (played just fine by Jennifer Garner). The problem is, sheís shallow-to-a-fault, passionless in all that she does, and never seems to be that into Gervais (cuz of his fat appearance and snub-nose), so I for one was never really rooting for them to end up together.

Now, this isnít to say the film is without its laughs. There are certainly more than a handful of chuckles, and the constant cameos keep you on your toes, but all in all, the by-the-books treatment of the screenplay and uneducated direction lead to a film that strongly missed out on its massive potential.
THE EXTRAS
Prequel: The Dawn of Lying (6:30) - A short story (that was intended to be the filmís opening) featuring each of the male cast members from the film, narrated by Patrick Stewart, about the very first lie. The guys are dressed as cave men and a fairly unimaginable story is told. Bummer, as it coulda been really funny.

Meet Karl Pilkington (17:48) - A short mock/documentary of sorts hosted by and about Ricky Gervaisí hilarious pal Karl Pilkington. The manís comedy has always come from the fact that heís painfully and unashamedly honest and a lifelong complainer, and that is truer than ever here as he prepares to shoot the previously mentioned short film.

A Truly Honest Making Of (7:17) - Not at all a making of so much as the cast gushing about Ricky Gervais, coupled with as many outtakes as you can fit into 7 minutes, which is fine cuz I canít get enough of Gervaisí squealish laugh.

Deleted Scenes (7:12) - A handful of surprisingly funny deleted scenes, especially ďPost CasinoĒ.

Ricky and Mattís Podcasts (9:59) - A series of home-video style shorts starring Ricky and Matthew Robinson. Not tremendously funny or well conceived, and somebody shoulda bought them a proper microphone.

More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes (5:33) - The title says it all, more outtakes.

The Blu-Ray also comes with a Digital Copy.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
The Invention of Lying is a film that suffered, in my guesstimation (made up word of the day), as a result of inexperienced directors and an original concept that just couldn't hold up for 99 minutes. As a short film or a comedy sketch, this coulda been great. As a feature length, its Netflix-worthy at best.
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