Top critical review
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Bit of a mess
on 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.