TV & Video Review: ‘The Invention of Lying’ (Blu-ray)

TV & Video Review: ‘The Invention of Lying’ (Blu-ray)

The Invention of Lying was set to be the biggest laugh of last year. Ricky Gervais, comedy genius behind television’s The Office and Extras, had his name all over this picture including co-writing and -directing credits; but it sadly disappointed in one way or another. Mark Bellison (Gervais) lives in a world where no one […]

The Invention of Lying was set to be the biggest laugh of last year. Ricky Gervais, comedy genius behind television’s The Office and Extras, had his name all over this picture including co-writing and -directing credits; but it sadly disappointed in one way or another.

Mark Bellison (Gervais) lives in a world where no one has ever lied, leading to a life of blunt statements and no personal filters or imagination. However, one day Mark manages to utter an untruth. Seizing the opportunity, Mark realizes he can now get anything he wants including the girl of his dreams (Jennifer Garner) and revenge on a co-worker (Rob Lowe). Unfortunately, his new power carries widespread significance he could not have anticipated.

The movie is divided into two different films: the first half takes the idea to its funny extreme in which Mark uses his new ability to take advantage of various situations, while the latter half presents a serious look at the consequences of his actions and the impact of his unrequited love. Most tend to like one half or the other, though neither is stellar. The first half is almost too ridiculous and the latter half becomes unexpectedly sombre.

Gervais does appear to take a shot at religions of which even Bill Maher would approve. When a small group overhears Mark comforting someone on their death bed with a description of “heaven,” word spreads that he has knowledge of the afterlife and throngs of people gather to learn more from the new prophet. However, the jab comes when he makes up a set of 10 commandments and creates “the man in the sky” that is God-like – all of which are figments of his imagination.

The film’s greatest failure is not living up to expectations created by Gervais’ other projects and the marketing campaign. The acting is adequate and it is often quite funny, but the movie is just not generally good.

Special features include: additional scenes; “Prequel: The Dawn of Lying,” documenting the first caveman to lie; a making-of featurette; “Meet Karl Pilkington,” chronicling his first appearance in a Hollywood movie; video podcasts by Gervais and co-director Matthew Robinson, which includes hazing the intern; outtakes; and a digital copy of the film.