The Invention of Lying

"Good"

The Invention of Lying Review


As bright and witty as this film is, it never quite generates enough momentum to be a comedy classic. It feels more like a gently meandering movie version of a high-concept sketch. At least it's peppered with sharp gags.

In an alternate reality in which humanity hasn't developed the ability to lie, Mark (Gervais) is a loser who accidentally discovers dishonesty and quickly realises the power of his words in a world where everyone believes him. Lying his way to fame and wealth is easy, but things start to spiral out of his control when people develop a religion based on his tall tales. And his biggest problem is that he wants Anna (Garner) to fall in love with him. But lying to her would be cheating.

Allegorical elements add some intriguing subtext (although Monty Python addressed the same issues with Life of Brian 30 years ago), but Gervais and Robinson have a too-light touch, centring on set pieces that are goofy and amusing but don't dip too far beneath the surface. Essentially, the one joke is that people speak the cold, brutal truth in nice, matter-of-fact ways. And the simplistic observation is that, even if you could get all the money and sex you wanted, it's more fun to help people.

There's still plenty to enjoy, from Gervais' offhanded and charming performance to the strong supporting cast, including hilarious small roles for Lowe and Fey plus terrific cameos by Jason Bateman, Christopher Guest and other Gervais stalwarts. But with an approach this thin, there's not much the filmmakers can do with the characters. They all seem a bit cartoonish, and most of the actors seem to be waiting around for Gervais' next routine.

So it's strange that, rather than accelerate the comical potential (or dip further into the fantasy), the film instead turns to sappy sentimentality for its final act, getting increasingly serious-minded. We know from the start that Anna will eventually realise that wants to have short, fat kids, so her protests get somewhat tiring and her big moment of understanding feels cheap.

There are plenty of solid laughs along the way, but Gervais should have been much bolder with the idea.



The Invention of Lying

Facts and Figures

Run time: 100 mins

In Theaters: Friday 2nd October 2009

Box Office USA: $18.4M

Box Office Worldwide: $31.9M

Budget: $18.5M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Wintergreen Productions, Warner Bros., Radar Pictures, Media Rights Capital, 1821 Pictures, Lin Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 105 Rotten: 77

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: , Matthew Robinson

Producer: , Dan Lin, , Oly Obst

Starring: as Mark Bellison, as Anna McDoogles, as Frank, as Greg, as Anthony, as Martha Bellison, as Brad Kessler, as Shelley, as Blonde, Ruben Santiago-Hudson as Landlord, John Hodgman as Wedding Overseer, Nate Corddry as News Reporter, as Bob, as Waiter #1, as Doctor, as Nathan Goldfrappe, as Jim the Bartender, as Cop, as Assistant, as Man at the Door, as Receptionist

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.