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3.5 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 15 reviews(2 star). Show all reviews
VINE VOICEon 4 April 2010
Starts off alright, and is quite entertaining watching people be absolutely truthful at all times. There's the odd funny moment. But after 20 minutes it totally runs out of steam, and the story-line goes AWOL. The characters aren't very well written or interesting - Ricky basically does his pathetic 'loser' character again, and Jennifer Garner's character is just dull, vain and shallow. Is this what Ricky thinks women are really like? Judging by the last scene, he does seem to have a bit of an old-fashioned view of the 'ideal woman'.

Also, I really wasnt expecting mawkish sentimentality from Gervais! Parts of the film were painful to watch, they were so corny. At one point he discovers lying can make people happy, so he floats around with a smug look on his face, whispering lies into the ears of the homeless and the elderly. Vomit.

At times this film was extremely self-indulgent and soapboxy. There's a painfully uncomfortable scene (and not in a good way) when Ricky's character invents stories about an afterlife to comfort his dying mother. He then goes on to invent religion for that world - 'There's an old man in the sky who controls everything you do.' I can see what he was trying to say, but it just felt like ranting - it seemed mean, instead of funny. I think if you're going to criticize religion, you've got to be funny about it, or say something new or interesting, or you're just as annoying as a Jehovah's Witness on your doorstep.

Perhaps even more tedious, was the constant theme of people (ie. Ricky Gervais) being judged on their looks. I imagine living and working in LA can do this to a person, but Ricky seems OBSESSED. Yes we KNOW you are chubby and snub-nosed - nobody cares!
Also kind of pointless were the cameos from numerous famous actors - it just felt like showing off. I enjoyed 'Ghost Town', but this wasn't anywhere near as good. I think Ricky can be funny and original, but probably making movies isn't one of his talents.
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on 4 September 2016
I've now seen this film twice and still don't quite know where I stand with it. Right from the start it begins to wobble and remains unsteady throughout. We have Ricky Gervais taking over the opening creditsm, explaining the entire story and commenting on movie companies putting so many of their logos up before the move even gets cracking. Not so sure what all that is about really or where it fits. A bit odd and not funny really.

The story of a regular guy living in a world where nobody can tell a lie who all of a sudden has a brain wave and invents the lie seems slapped together and in a rush with no real meaning to it. And it's not really even a world where people do lie, it's more like where people say the exact truth or just the way it is. I'm not sure where the lying bit fits exactly or why our character Mark Played by Ricky Gervais has a sudden brain malfuction and changes but nobody else does?

Anyway, after Mark suddenly can't tell untruths he uses his power to help others less fortunate than him and try and win the heart of a girl who openly admits she masturbates before their date! As the people around Mark soon begin to get wind off this they start to follow him and treat him like a Jesus type figure and believe everything he says. There is a susprisingly touching scene where Mark's mother is dying and he tells her she is going to a wonderful place. I've always thought Gervais was a good dramatic actor and can do sentimental very well. This scene showcases that perfectly.

But the rest of the film is very messy and disjointed and only just works in some places. Its funny in parts but Gervais seems miscast as does evetyone else but he seems to inject his own carisma into the role which some how sticks the story together. At this stage of Gervais's career, and looking back now it seems that his type of humour didn't quite translate to the USA. This film is obvioulsly a "who ya know, not what ya know" project. I do love Gervais and think he is a genius but this film is not the best example of his movie work. Stick to the likes of Cemetety Juction.

Overall The Invention Of Lying ain't too bad but has a feeling of a left over script from the 90's than has been dusted off like a cross between Jim Carrey's Liar Liar and The Life Of Brian.

The film means well and Ricky does a solid job directing and expanding his opportunities but it would have worked better if it was a UK based production.
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on 12 September 2010
The Invention of Lying is an unremarkable movie with a potentially interesting premise which vast numbers of ignorant Christians immediately condemned as an attack on their faith. It's clear how fundamental lying is when the world is portrayed as soulless place where professionalism, manners, and basic decency simply don't exist. The lack of morality and imagination of it's inhabitants is staggering, and anyone who took the time to look beneath the surface (the movie even comes out and says that!) will discover that if anything, The Invention of Lying is pro-religion.

That aside, the execution is poor. The protagonist uses his new found power to go after a specific woman, except he wants her to make the choice herself so he doesn't use his power at all. The whole lying thing is a mere subplot to the romance, and I can't help but feel it should be the other way around. Not to mention the dialogue falls flat, jokes are handled poorly, and characters are boring. If it's an entertaining romantic comedy you're looking for, avoid this. If it's a philosophical outlook on a basic ability we take for granted, well then you're probably still better off with something else, for sadly The Invention of Lying does neither particularly well.
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on 19 May 2014
Unlike the protagonist in the film, I can't lie about this sub-par piece of cinema and what a car crash of a film it is (that's a lot kinder than what the vast majority of characters would say in the film). Like most people I watched the film with Gervais' past work in mind (The Office, Extras, his stand-up and general views), but sadly the film overshadowed those accomplishments and I had to keep questioning myself if this was the same man.
The general outline of the story revolves around a generic and overplayed type of character - Mark. He's down on his luck and nothing is going right, until he fathoms the ability to tell a lie. All of the characters in the film are unable to lie and speak their minds in a one-dimensional tone that makes Schwarzenegger look like a classically trained actor. Like many of the other reviewers, I can't understand why every character (bar Gervais' character for some reason, before he learns to lie) literally spills out insults and horrible comments to every person they encounter. Is every act of kindness the human race gives a complete and utter lie? I doubt humanity would have progressed very far from the Stone Age without kindness and lying.
*SPOILERS* The film escalates to Gervais' character telling the biggest whopper of all time - the man in the sky and the afterlife. I'm not a religious man, but it felt a weak attack towards religion. Dogma and Life of Brian did this very well, but this film lacks the ability to spark any controversy, which is clearly what Gervais is aiming for. I haven't even mentioned the love story/triangle as it is absolutely poor and doesn't add anything to the film. The only redeeming feature of the film is Stephen Merchant and Barry from Eastenders who provide the only laughs of the film.
I love Gervais, but this film has left a skidmark on his film career. It's almost as if he has become Andy Millman from Extras and sold out. The constant reference to his nose and appearance is just overused and nowhere close to David Bowie's observation in Extras. This film had so much potential, yet it took the 'safe' route and ultimately ended up with a poor film, awful acting and a predictable plot. All in all, avoid the film and Youtube the Barry/Stephen Merchant clip!
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on 30 January 2010
Having been a huge fan of Gervais' now classic work like The Office and Extras, I felt the need to see The Invention of Lying (TIOL). Let's not get it wrong the idea for the film is great, in a world where there are no lies, and therefore no fiction, fantasies or stories. Gervais plays a screenwriter called Mark Bellison(who can obviously only write non-fiction) who develops the abiltiy to lie. Of course everyone believes he is telling the truth and supposed hilarity ensues.

However, the final half of the film does fall kind of flat. The supposed fun of Mark discovering his new found ability is too short lived and very soon the plot becomes bogged down as the whole world takes intrest in what Gervais' character has to say. Another downside is Gervais' strange idea to all of a sudden don a beard and impersonate Mike Myers' in The Love Guru, (something which I assure you is a very very very bad idea). I found myself dissapointed that the film hadn't lived up to the hilarity the trailer promised.

Character's that stand out are Gervais' secretary Shelley played by Tina Fey and rival Brad played by Rob Lowe as they tell Mark exactly what they think of him.

Another delight is a surprise cameo (I actually choked on my popcorn with delight) by fellow Extras, Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson (yes that's right it's Barry off Eastenders). I won't divulge the details of the cameo (and by cameo I mean it really is very brief)

All in all a little disappointed, especially after Ghost Town which is the film I would recommend instead of this one.
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on 15 March 2010
The concept is good but the film doesn't really live up to it. It isn't that they can't lie, it seems to be that they say what ever comes into their heads!! Good links with the origins of religion though.
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on 3 March 2010
I bought this because i enjoyed Ghost Town and i like Ricky. It was okay, funny in places but not as good as Ghost Town.
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on 26 February 2010
This film starts out with the one joke premise which the title itself explains adequately. A world with no lies, adverts, relationships etc etc all up front. Potential comedy gold and, to be fair, a few goods lines and moments come early on as you would expect.

The casting of Jennifer Garner as the love interest is odd as she comes across as a nervous spindly legged forest creature who has suddenly found itself transported to a semi detached house in Surbiton which itself has been lifted by helicopter to downtown LA for no particular reason. For such a key role they did need someone like Tina Fey to bounce these early jokes off... so she's in it as well to fill the void. Swank just pouts and stares at Ricky Gervais and trots out her devastating truths, that he's fat, isn't in her league and they won't be having sex. Forgetting the audience do have eyes and these things are generally thought and said in a world of lies as well.

This aside it does start well enough, although loosely and with very little direction or point. He has an annyeurism and tells a lie, avoiding the collapsing and drooling and painstaking road to recovery part. And on it goes like a Jim Carrey film without the gurning. Well, less.

Then comes the rub. Religion. The biggest lie of them all. I'm an atheist, I got a little excited, I like an intelligent dig at these things and I had not been expecting ths turn in the tale. Neither does Tina Fey as she disappears for half an hour. Garner starts to shiver and needs a blanket and a copy of 'Electra' in her trailer before her eyes burst. Ricky Gervais then gets stuck in to Religion.

And fails to do anything but sound obnoxious on the subject.

And isn't funny.

This is for about 50 minutes in total. Rendering this film about as (re)watchable as a Tuesday night episode of Emmerdale from 2004.

Watch it, make up your own mind... you might enjoy it, it might speak to you, it just didn't to me. This film or Religion, take your pick.

The forthcoming 'Cemetary Junction' will need to be Godfather Trilogy good to erase the memory of this one, I really like Ricky Gervais and genuinely hope it is. Or it's back to the 'Extras' box set instead of renting the follow up.
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on 19 August 2015
Im glad i only paid £1 for this film. Im a big fan of Rickys work in The Office, Extras but with this film i turned it off with 15 minutes left
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on 3 November 2013
The DVD came very quickly within two days of ordering but when I put the film in to watch it has several scratches on it which make the film almost unwatch-able because it misses outs vital parts. Very disappointed that the disk is scratched but what can you expect when you are paying £1.29 for a film lol.
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