The Invention of Lying (12A)

Film

Comedy

The Invention 2.jpg

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>2</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Tue Sep 29 2009

That a great comic idea does not necessarily make for a great screen comedy is the lesson for first-time writer-director-star Ricky Gervais as he comes unstuck in shaping a high-concept zinger into the stuff of viable romcom. Actually, co-writer/director Matthew Robinson instigated the notion of a world without lies, and the movie runs with it as far as it can, exploiting blatant truth telling in social situations and advertising to mildly amusing effect, but really kicking in when Gervais’s schlubby screenwriter protagonist utters the very first untruth to weasel his way out of a financial jam. Soon he’s prospering from the edge this gives him over the rest of humanity, but will it win him the hand of the seemingly unattainable Jennifer Garner?

It’s no giveaway to suggest that a relationship built on a lie isn’t going anywhere, which explains why the film makes a screeching gear-change from conceptual comedy to rather sickly romantic pleading on behalf of chubby middle-aged men. After peaking with a smartly subversive set-piece where the silver-tongued protagonist takes a rise out of religious faith and ‘the man in the sky’, the laughter all but dries up, exposing Gervais’s effortful performance (Garner by contrast is transparent charm personified) and his inexperience at shaping even rudimentary romcom story beats. Intermittently, the film sparkles with invention, yet seriously outstays its welcome. By which time Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Guest and Ed Norton have all popped in, paying homage to Hollywood’s supposed new Atlantic-hopping king of comedy. On this evidence, the crown’s a bit of an awkward fit.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Oct 2, 2009

Duration:

100 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:3
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|14
1 person listening
bh

The first 20 or so minutes were really funny. The rest was a bit tedious. Also, I don't really think it's accurate to say that the movie is simply about a world without lying. There is that, but there is also a total lack of skepticism. This would suggest that nobody is ever genuinely mistaken about anything. Also, and this was true of 'liar liar' too, but a lot of what is portrayed as excessive truthfulness is simply 'oversharing'. I don't think the two are one and the same.

Jack Stafford

Id just like to draw attention to the Gervais hater above. 1. If you didn't like the Office why pay to see/buy his live shows, and 2. I love the fact you slagged him off for being too hollywood and then compared him to Simon Pegg who also took a step across the atlantic and made a mixed reviewed, attempted satirical rom/com with big Hollywood names called How to lose friends and alienate people. You sir, are a twat.

Matt

The film doesn't warrant the bad reviews its recieved. If your looking for more than a comedy to take the wifey to see then this is perfect. It has its laugh out loud moments and pokes at society on subjects like religion and conformity - but at the same time has something that will appeal to others. There is a scene in this film with the podgy snub nosed comedians mother, where Ricky pulls off a fine bit of heart felt acting and actually brought tears to my eyes - not through being funny. On the down side the film sort of drags a little towards the end and ponders for too long on the romcom 'i must win the girl' scenario...but hey the wifey will love that and you get to see Ricky be funny and stuff. 4 / 5 for being funny, having good subject matter but loses a star for deviating mid film to a romcom and dragging a little.

Ed King

Like others the bad reviews totally mystify me. Have just come back from a full cinema in London which was resounding with laughter. This is a smart intelligent movie with an enjoyable premise and which pokes a wry finger at organized religion and the lies that are necessary in society to allow social cohesion. If you are an anal retentive who sits through films trying to pick holes in the logic, someone who doesn't like Ricky Gervais or someone who doesn't like their religious views challenged then this probably isn't for you.

Ed King

Like others the bad reviews totally mystify me. Have just come back from a full cinema in London which was resounding with laughter. This is a smart intelligent movie with an enjoyable premise and which pokes a wry finger at organized religion and the lies that are necessary in society to allow social cohesion. If you are an anal retentive who sits through films trying to pick holes in the logic, someone who doesn't like Ricky Gervais or someone who doesn't like their religious views challenged then this probably isn't for you.

DV

Whilst this film made me laugh out loud (lol) several times, and poked fun at people who blindly follow (dis)organised religion, there seems to me one glaring error : Ricky spends most of the film trying to persuade Jennifer that looks are unimportant - personality is the key - when the only thing attractive about her on-screen character is her physical beauty.

Rob

Just got back from watching the movie and had to log on to write how awful it truly is. It is one of the worst movies I have seen in years - utterly devoid of any charm, lacking almost completely in humour, and impossible to like. It was immensely tedious in parts, and I only continued watching through pure voyuerism - I felt like I was watching career suicide in front of my eyes. If Gervais somehow gets away with this dirge then he is more powerful than I realised. I'd recommend you go see it just so you can understand how bad it really is. I am disappointed I cannot give it zero stars.

Fitz

I think that the reviewer let his religious prejudices bias the film. Granted the last twenty minutes are similar to any romantic comedy, but it was thought-provoking at the very least.

Justin Berkovi

The Americans seem taken with Gervais. I've never got him at all - to me he's just some ugly fat bloke who is not funny at all. I never liked the office, his live show was the biggest waste of £40 in my life and I think he is just one very very lucky man with no talent. Comedy? I think Larry David not this boring goon. He's milking it now with all his 'Hollywood' buddies and that makes me disliked him even more. At least someone like Simon Pegg is original, quirky and slightly talented. Ricky - you're boring, puerile and SHIT. When on earth is everyone else going to realise?!

Craigganmore

Maybe I watched another film called 'The Invention of Lying' directed by and starring Ricky Gervais because what I watched was very distant from the description of the film reviewed above. Perhaps the film offended some religious sentimentalities? Such feelings run deep. For those interested in the film I saw: I loved it and can't agree with any of the points raised by the reviewer or the other viewers. But hey, we all have our opinions, which we can happily express and discuss, so go and see it and make you're own mind up.

Craigganmore

Maybe I watched another film called 'The Invention of Lying' directed by and starring Ricky Gervais because what I watched was very distant from the description of the film reviewed above. Perhaps the film offended some religious sentimentalities? Such feelings run deep. For those interested in the film I saw: I loved it and can't agree with any of the points raised by the reviewer or the other viewers. But hey, we all have our opinions, which we can happily express and discuss, so go and see it and make you're own mind up.

Ben

I thought the film would be mediocre, and it was. I wouldn't suggest you make an effort to go and see it, but if you’re going to the cinema anyway the film will do no harm. Ricky Gervais was great in The Office, but when his comedy gets an American big-screen makeover, it just doesn't work.

JB

You can take the review above as spot on. The film is too long, frequently boring, thrashes each joke theme to death - the masturbation sequence at the front being a case in point, but had occasional flashes of brilliance. It cannot decide whether it is rom com or satire and works as neither as it has not enough interest.