The Invention of Lying is a Ricky Gervais movie, and since the days of the British sit com The Office, Ricky has come a long way. In this movie he plays Mark Bellison, a man struggling with life in a world where nobody lies. It is not that people just don't lie, it just hasn't been invented yet, nobody knows what lying is. For Mark this is not good, as the people around him are just to honest, the movie starts with him going on a date with the stunning actor Jennifer Garner who plays Anna Mcdoogles.
Right from the word go she is honest with Mark, and tells him this will probably be the first and last date, because she doesn't find him attractive. The date is one embarrassing moment from the next, and the next day is no better either, when he is sacked from his job. His work mates instead of being sympathetic to his situation, tell him how they really feel, they tell him they don't like him and are glad he has been sacked. Mark can't pay his rent and it looks like he is going to now be homeless. That is until something clicks in his brain, and he figures something out, something no one has ever thought of, the lie, and through this invention Mark can change his life and get the respect and happiness he so much wants.
I thought this was a pretty good movie, it is an inventive and imaginative idea, plus I always like Ricky and he didn't disappoint me in this. I suppose the moral of the story is that sometimes in life, little lies are actually needed, we are taught that lying is bad, but let's be truthful for one moment, who doesn't lie sometimes. Whether it is to your children about Santa, the Tooth Fairy or the Easter Bunny, or to you partner about there new haircut which you just don't think suits them.
Just think about it, if we lived in a world where nobody lies, the world would be a brutal place, as it is for Mark at the start of this movie. This movie does a great job a portraying this, and Ricky is the best actor for the job. He is not the conventional movie star, being short, fat and fury, and I love that this man has no problem laughing at himself, creating a movie which points out the things about him which are not perfect. This movie held my attention well, and I really enjoyed it, but one thing I will say is that it is not for the religious people in the world, as towards the end the movie it does play on the god story being a lie, worth a watch though in my opinion.
Ricky Gervais is best known for his comedy creation The Office but since then has done plenty of other television work which has been a huge success and you get the feeling that the guy really can do no wrong but this is a film that puts paid to that idea as it really does not live up to the standard you''d expect from Gervais.
The story is set in an alternative reality where everyone tells the truth and there is no such thing as lying (when I say no such thing this is not just that people don''t lie but that nobody would ever think of this idea and it never occurs to them) which sees people always needing to be honest which leads to a feeling that you would just never be able to say that (imagine when your partner asks if a top looks good and you try to put an answer nicely...now imagine being blunt and completely honest and you have how this film gives it). When Mark Bellison (played by Ricky Gervais) is fired from his job, turned down by the beautiful and wealthy Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) in a very blunt way and then evicted from his home due to not paying his rent things could not get much worse for him but when he visits his local bank to withdraw some funds and is told the computer system is down and so is asked how much he has in his account (remembering that lying does not exist and so they know he will be honest) he has the idea to create the first lie and tells the teller that there is more than he has in his account and he manages to get the funds he is asking for he is struck by the realization that maybe lying is the biggest success he has ever had. The film continues to watch Gervais concocting various lies to ensure he can get success in his work life, with women, financially and much more and this has the chance to be a really laugh out loud comedy but unfortunately just lacks something and feels a little flat throughout.
Overall this is an OK film but for me feels a little bit of a let down as I expected so much more from a Ricky Gervais film that has such a great idea and plot line at its core but there were a lack of laugh out loud moments that I feel this could really have delivered on.
I bought this film a while ago as it was available cheaply from Tesco. I had not seen the film before though am obviously familiar with Ricky Gervais and his related work, and also much of the cast.
Having loved The Office back in the day, enjoyed the follow up Extras and been loosely following An Idiot Abroad I figured this film was a fairly safe bet for someone who enjoys this type of comedy. The film is both written and directed by Ricky Gervais. The film had mixed reviews when it was first released and for many the wit and intelligence of Gervais' writing didn't translate well to screen and much of his magic was lost. I was intrigued to see whether I would enjoy it and how it would compare to his other work.
The film is set in an alternate reality in which lying does not exist. Everything people say is the truth and it is quite often brutally harsh. Where people might keep things to themselves they can't help themselves from stating what is outwardly true: that people are fat, or ugly or stupid. As there is no lying in this world there also can't be any fiction, they have no concept of things being made up or imagined because they only know and understand what is true. As a result films are made in the form of historical documentaries and adverts tell the truth about their products.
The character we follow in this film is Mark (Ricky Gervais) who is an unsuccessful film writer allocated the 1300s (known to be a very boring era). At the beginning of the film we see Mark go on a blind date with beautiful and successful Anna (Jennifer Garner). She tells Mark exactly what she thinks of him and that she would not consider dating him because he is unattractive, overweight and in a poor financial situation. Anna on the other hand views herself as being attractive and deserving of a partner who will provide her children with good genes. Mark is not him.
After this unsuccessful date, and a further rebuttal via email from Anna, Mark is fired from his job because his films are uninteresting. The knock on effect of losing his job is that he cannot pay his rent and must move out of his apartment. Mark goes to the bank to close his account but the cashier tells him that their computer system is down and asks him how much money he would like to withdraw. Something strange happens in Mark's brain and he tells the first lie ever to have been told on earth. He asks for more money than is in his account and though the system revives and the cashier sees he does not have this much it is an impossibility to anyone that he could be wrong. Therefore she withdraws the amount he claims to have, assuming there is an error on their system and apologising.
Mark is confused by what has happened but aware that he can pretty much do whatever he wants to now because he has the power to lie in a world where what you say is taken as the truth. His career is suddenly successful as he comes up with elaborate stories to be made into film. He attempts to seduce Anna once again, taking her out to dinner, and though she is wooed by his new found fame and fortune she cannot look past the genetic make up he would pass onto their children.
Half way through dinner Mark gets a call to say his mother is having a heart attack and rushes off to see her. It is on her death bed that he tells his biggest lie yet: that there is a lovely place you go to after you die created by a man in the sky. A doctor overhears Mark's words and word spreads quickly. As Mark recovers from the death of his mother a crowd of people gather outside his apartment demanding to know the truth about the man in the sky that he speaks of. Mark creates ten rules to live by that will help you get into this special place after you die, and faces a barrage of questions that go into minutiae detail about what you can and can't do.
Concurrently to this storyline you see Mark's enemy Brad (Rob Lowe) dating and subsequently proposing to Anna. Brad and Anna are better matches because they are both beautiful and will provide good genes. Mark is heartbroken and though he tries to fight for Anna's affections she continues to plan the wedding. I won't spoil the ending for you on this one but obviously the ending hinges on whether Anna will marry Brad or run off with Mark.
I really think the concept for this film is very clever, and having seen the trailer thought the humour was very clever too. However, the actual execution and plot in this film massively disappointed me. So here are a few of my issues...
Ricky Gervais seems to think that if you stripped away out ability to lie you would take with it our propensity to be compassionate and kind people. Essentially the implication the film makes is that we are only kind of other people when we lie. I find this not only a sad assumption but I believe it is actually not realistic. The ending to the film goes some way towards altering this flaw but not entirely and I left it feeling that what I had seen was a horribly cynical and sad view of the world we live in.
Another of my issues with this film, and this is a rather major one, is that Ricky Gervais felt the need to bring in religion. I am not a religious person but as a decent human being I respect that other people have different views and beliefs. What this film suggests to the audience is that religion as a whole is a lie, and that without the ability to lie religion and faith would not exist. The implication is that without people telling lies that God exists there would be no concept of God because he does not exist. I found this avenue of the film totally unnecessary to the main romantic storyline and also ignorant and offensive. It felt like a condemnation of religious faith and almost an attempt to put forward atheism as the obvious and only logical explanation. If I was offended as someone who has no real religious faith I can't imagine how this film would be received by someone with beliefs.
My final criticism would be that the film felt very self-indulgent to me and this is only corroborated by the extras on the DVD. Ricky Gervais has become so popular and respected that it seems as though every Hollywood A-lister is falling over themselves to be involved in his films/tv programmes. In this film there are unnecessary extra bits, some of which they have cut and some they haven't, which bring into the fold Karl Pilkington, Shaun Williamson and Stephen Merchant. Though these are actors who I have enjoyed in other Ricky Gervais endeavours it does not fit seamlessly into this film and just feels like a personal whim he has indulged.
This is quite a difficult thing to admit for someone who is such a fan of Gervais' early work but I would also rather he weren't in the film at all. The whole thing comes across as a self-pitying and self-indulgent mess in which Ricky once again sends up his personal appearance but this time it misses the funny mark.
It's a shame because I think the concept of this film had real potential to be something very funny. Overall though I find this film misses the mark in so many ways and seems to follow a slightly misguided narrative route. The love story is probably the only redeeming feature but even then this doesn't feel wholly convincing.
It kills me to say it but a real flop from with comedy genius.
I watched this film with low expectations. Having seen Ricky Gervais' previous film Ghost town which I didn't enjoy I thought that this one was going to be equally as bad however I was suprised that this film was quite good.
Set in a world where the concept of lying hasn't been invented yet everyone is always completely honest even though the things people have to say can be pretty mean and hurtful. Mark Bellison who is played by Ricky Gervais one day tells and lie but everyone thinks that he is telling the truth. He makes the fact the he can lie work to his own benefit until his mother dies and he invents a world after death run by the man in the sky.
One scene that is good is when Mark is trying to explain to people what the man in the sky has said to him. Basically he is making up the 10 conmandments but people are finding them difficult to understand.
Jennifer Garner plays the love interest in this film and although she starts off by not liking mark and calling him fat she does manage to see the good in him in the end.
Its quite a good film so I would recommend watching it.
Now I'm always torn between two states of mind when it come to reviews of films and books. I can either tell the story, thus ruining the plot and making it a bit pointless for people to watch/read it. Or do what i prefer and will do and give my personal opinions on the film.
For me personally, i am a huge Ricky Gervais fan and a great admirer of his work. Especially his recent TV works (Extra's, an idiot abroad and most recently Life's too short with Warrick Davis) I am also a huge fan of his stand-up DVD's. I think that when he combine with his towering writing partner Stephen Merchant, then it is already a guaranteed success. However every piece of work they have done has been heavily criticized, but for every critic, there is a fan.
The invention of lying is the story of Mark Bellison, a failing writer for the 14th century. Stuck in a world where everyone is desperately truthful. He finds himself in a tricky situation where he can't pay his rent, however through a sudden brainwave lies to the bank to bail himself out. But his 'ability' to bend the truth perhaps goes too far as he has to weigh up the morale and ethical advantages to himself, those around him and indeed the world. It comes as the love of his life nearly weds a man with 'The perfect DNA'.
The film See's great performances from Ricky, Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe and a bit part for Writing partner Stephen Merchant and ex-eastender Shaun Williamson.
In short, its a great lighthearted film that shouldn't be taken too seriously, it won't go down as one of the greats, however, for a few cheap giggles it must be commended.
Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is a screenwriter in a world where nobody has ever lied, this makes for a wholly uninteresting job, as films without fiction are simply recreations of situations that have happened with no artistic licence. As you can imagine the films are dull.
Marks life isn't much more interesting, he is short, chunky and in a world where people can't lie, it isn't difficult for people to tell him this at every opportunity. His life seems fairly bland and boring until he meets Anna (Jennifer Garner) a beautiful young woman who admits she likes him but his looks mean he couldn't provide the gene pool she requires.
One day following problems at work Mark visits the bank and lies, he doesn't do it intentionally but in a fit of panic by accident, he tells the worlds first lie and then realises that in a world where nobody tells anything but the truth, he has all the power in the world, he can say what he wants and be believed. He uses his new 'power' to comfort his mother about the afterlife on her deathbed, avoiding the usual honesty of his world where people accept there is nothing else and die afraid and alone. However his supportive lie has knock on effects as his knowledge of the afterlife and a 'god' make him almost a modern day Jesus as he is forced to recreate and embellish the story for newspapers and a delighted population.
As Mark's lies escalate can he find some truth in his world and can he win the girl from the handsome but vacuous Brad (Rob Lowe).
The film has a decent enough cast, Ricky Gervais plays himself as always but fills his character with the pathos and self loathing which generally sets him apart from other comedic actors. Jennifer Garner is fine as the pretty, honest love interest, she doesn't have much more to do than shoot Gervais down a few times and be incredibly honest, but she comes across as a woman whose honesty is from the heart rather than being pure selfishness as it first appears. Jonah Hill has a non part as a suicidal friend, Phillip Seymour Hoffmann and Ed Norton bizarrely pop up in weird cameos while Rob Lowe and Tina Fey are underused to the extreme as loathsome colleagues of our hero.
There is even an amusing cameo from Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson (Barry from Eastenders in Extras), where they tell the back story of Mark's father.
I had heard Gervais expound how Louis CK is the funniest comic in the world, and looked forward to his part as Mark's loser best friend, but have to admit I didn't find a single thing he said funny, or even amusing, I was really disappointed in his character and won't be seeking out more of his work based on this.
The cast is excellent but everyone in this film plays second fiddle to Gervais, whether intentionally or not the film is centred around him and no other character really becomes 2D let alone 3 dimensional in scope. Norton in particular does a great cameo and Lowe is particularly annoying as Brad, but I didn't get what Fey was doing in this film, she has nothing to do and no funny lines at all, which is a shame as she is one of the funniest actresses around and seems to have done this as a favour to a friend, rather than because she gets anything interesting to do, the cast is better on paper than it needs to be as they are only really there to support Gervais on his journey.
I thought this film started brilliantly, the premise of a world without lies offers endless opportunities, from the Pepsi advert which is very honest and hilarious for it, through to the inane banter of people who can't hide what they think, meaning society needs to be much more thick skinned in accepting the honest reactions of people to appearance, behaviour and character.
It is a sweet gentle film that tries to throw in a few controversial ideas without you noticing, such as the fact that religion can only exist in a world where people fabricate and make things up and even then, it is all the idea of one man.
Some of the gags are excellent, a retirement home is called "A Sad Place Where Homeless Old People Come to Die." Waiters tell Anna and Mark how they hate their jobs and that she is clearly out of his league, as he has been born into such a world, Mark accepts all of this with bland understatement, knowing nothing else.
As Mark's lies take hold, holes appear in his story, how can a god who loves everyone give people cancer, how can he decide who goes to heaven and hell, Mark improvises as best he can but creates a new culture where behaviour is based on his dictums of what is right and wrong.
The film isn't really moral and doesn't push anything down your throat but it does try to gently get you thinking about how your own life would be without lying. Imagine for a moment the Dooyoo site if everyone was entirely honest at all times, that could be quite interesting!!!
The film dips around the half way mark as the world without lies becomes a toy for Mark to create ridiculous 'true' films which immediately make him the greatest writer of all time, they are silly and the film veers away from sublime into a slightly safer love story, which you can't quite bring yourself to believe. My interest died down in the second half and I found the ending sweet but not as good as the beginning. I will give this a 3 out of 5 as it's a film that will make you think and definitely is worth a watch, but it tapers off after Mark explains the story of god and never really grabs your attention again fully.
It's not an obvious film, or one which has any action to speak of, but there are funny moments, not laugh out loud funny, but nonetheless amusing observational comments which are well worth a watch. It is satirical, but in a gentle way, it doesn't really hit the mark much when it decides to change from social commentary to romantic comedy and becomes less believable and enjoyable for this, my other half was glued to the first 20 minutes but then went off to do some cooking as she just felt the story didn't move on from the first lie, I'd agree with that on many levels, there are still funny moments after this, but you end up thinking about the missed opportunities more than the jokes which hit the spot with this film, the premise is excellent but the killer instinct just isn't there.
The films style is interesting, it is grey and uniform, perhaps to reflect the world it represents but at times looks like an infomercial for Milton Keynes as much as a film, it is clearly not a big budget film and at times looks fairly cheap, but it has charm and one shot of changing seasons near the end of the film was one of the best I have seen for a long time.
Its agreeable, thought provoking, but ultimately unsatisfying fare, which I'd recommend renting (As I did) rather than buying. The DVD is available from Lovefilm, or you can buy it from Amazon for £4.47.
Title: The Invention of Lying
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe
Directors: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Writers: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Format: DVD & BLU-RAY (reviewed as DVD)
The Set Up:
Written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson, The Invention of Lying is high concept film full of laughs. In a world where everyone can only tell the truth... one guy finds that he can lie. And it changes his, and everyone else's, life. Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) and Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) are set up on a date by a friend but it's painfully obvious that in terms of looks and career progression that Anna can do better than Mark.
The Invention of Lying is an intelligent, cerebral film. It's shrewdly constructed as well as fiendishly original. And whilst there are some narrative problems it nevertheless often borders on brilliance. However just as Mark stumbles when faced with people asking him why he knows so much about death, the film also stumbles quite heavily at the point where the subplot of the man-in-the-sky is introduced. Perhaps Gervais was struggling to find his characters anything else particularly interesting to do but the second act of the film is confused. Happily the ending rounds out the film nicely and by the end credits all the silliness of the middle third is forgiven and forgotten.
Some viewers may find the film frustrating as they may feel that if someone was unable to lie it does not necessarily follow that they would be forced to tell the truth, at least not in the way that some of the characters do in the film. How there is something wonderful here, in the fact that it's refreshing and also very funny to see people speaking so truthfully. I feel that the film constantly flirts with brilliance but perhaps never really achieves it absolutely.
Gervais manages to reign himself in more than usual and gives a straight performance, stripping away some of the guff that he often subjects us to. Even his laugh is toned down. What we might be witnessing is his transformation into a really quite decent actor.
So there are some faults, a stuttering middle act, and some odd plot twists but the set-up, and the first act, is glorious and there are plenty of genuine laughs throughout the rest of the film.
More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes
This extra isn't actually very funny at all. There are a few laughs, but to be honest, as with most out takes I found this to be fairly run of the mill stuff, which was quite dull. Just a lot of messing around after takes had finished or after a mistake had been made.
Prequel: The Dawn of Lying Documenting a monumental occasion in history.
A prequel to the film sees Karl Pilkington amongst others dressed as a caveman. It's about as funny as it sounds. Great if you like caveman humour, plain stupid if you don't.
Meet Karl Pilkington Ricky's best buddy and Co-Host of The Ricky Gervais Show Chronicles his travels to the U.S for his first appearance in a Hollywood movie.
Again, this one depends on if you like Karl Pilkington or not, or at least the silly persona he has developed for himself. I'd give this one a miss unless you like his stupidity. Just stick to watching the film.
A Truly "Honest" Making of Featurette with Ricky Gervais Cast members share their admiration for a comedic genious. This is the best extra out of the lot. Some genuine insights into the cast's choices as actors and their inspirations. Worth a watch.
All the scenes have rightly been deleted in terms of pacing, plot or just not being funny or required. They offer just a little more insight into the world of the film. Worth a watch but they won't blow you away.
Ricky Gervais - Mark Bellison
Jennifer Garner - Anna McDoogles
Jonah Hill - Frank
Louis C.K. - Greg
Jeffrey Tambor - Anthony
Fionnula Flanagan ... Martha Bellison
Rob Lowe - Brad Kessler
Tina Fey - Shelley
Donna Sorbello - Anna's Mother
Release year: 2009
Directors & Writers: Ricky Gervais - Matthew Robinson
Why is it that whenever I see Ricky Gervais he looks as if he's on the verge of urinating in his Y fronts? He even talks at times as if his vocal cords are breaking to a higher pitch tone; I assume it is a quirky impetus mechanism added for 'comedy effect.' The higher the tonal pitch he manages the funnier the punch line is, presumably. Inevitably, at some point, Mr Gervais - Ricky to his friends, would've been mesmerized by Hollywood's bright lights and minced off towards the chalky hills with Ray-bands and squeaky white trainers to try his hand at Hollywood writing and directing. Well, co-writing and co-directing, with glove puppet Matthew Robinson who also found himself on the plane, cozying up to Gervais, destined for stardom, immortality and the heightened prospects of their teeth being bleached. The plan was to sweep Hollywood by a solar storm of satire. Instead, we were subjected to 'The Invention of Lying,' satire was as wet as a box of frogs.
Gervais will do ok on royalties with this effort; the film depicts blunt truth and they like that in Hollywood, albeit only on-screen. In reality, fakeness is big plastic business, from injecting fat into lips to make them fuller, to pert breasts acting as a food tray whilst eating in the lounge in a nursing home for the elderly; where no-one is able to smile, where a wigwam of skin sits where the recycling bins would be in the UK. Only the rich plastic surgeons know of the depth of 'bodily falseness.' In the world of film 'The Invention of Lying' is a 'concept-comedy' and set in Boston USA - a premise where lying does not exist, nor does religion, or extremism; and all that is said, is the first line of thought, without any social boundaries of etiquette. Not too dissimilar to meeting Prince Phillip on Royal Variety night, if you happen to be a world-class ventriloquist; Prince Phillip would sincerely ask you; "Which one is the dummy?"
By taking away the premise of a culture of no lies, the film cajoles into a 'one-trip pony of satire' - A looping joke that works well in the first twenty minutes; due to it initially being seen as novel and refreshing, but by the time an hour is up, your eyes start rolling to the back of the head simultaneously, as if you're a china doll, eyes rolled, loosing the will to sit-up, caving in to gravitational pull. People beside you are doing exactly the same thing. 'The Invention of Truth' lacks content foresight as a piece of film; it fails on the grounds that maybe an eleven year old intellect may ask questions. Logic is on another planet entirely, and low and behold there is a 'bent cop' - Obviously a nugget for experimentation purposes; hence, the 'concept comedy' label. However, much of the concept element of the film's synopsis should've been ironed out prior to the final script. The ambiguity of abstraction is often missed by the viewing public, even in satire - 'irony' is notoriously unreliable.
Without any say, we, the voyeur, observe a guy named Mark Bellison, played by (Ricky Gervais) - Mark is an unsuccessful screen-writer, slightly on the bulbous side of the body mass index 'BMI' chart - He is just about to get ousted out of his abode due to lack of funds and poor prospects on the work front. His situation seemingly dire, with the added 'dire bonus point' that his feelings for his dream girl Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) are not only unreciprocated, but would go against the genetic science of producing gorgeous babies. So her frankness is awkward, by which Gervais revels in and excels at. Silences, and half finished sentences are excruciatingly uncomfortable, and the third person (that's the voyeur) plays apart just as Gervais's 'David Brent' does in 'The Office;' the acting style is ultimately Gervais, through and through. Gervais's chagrined facial features sprout out spontaneous hilarity, an art-form he has mastered whilst doing stand-up, during his observational, one-man show skits. Bellison's realization of telling a 'porky pie' comes while clearing out his bank account and asking for 800 dollars instead of the paltry 300 dollars that sit in his account. The assistant queries the amount and Bellison sticks to his guns. Welcome to the crux to the film. He realizes he can tell untruths and the assistant hands over the 800 dollars believing it must be a system error. Bellison had indeed invented the lie, now fame and fortune is his, - but what shape does it come in?
A formidable guru of the after-life is assured from the moment he consoled his dying Mother and went into an analogy of the 'man in the sky', as her soul seeks off into the 'impending' next dimension; evidently, all rosy cheeked and healthy. This is only allowed in the movies. Albeit cosmetic realism plays a minor part in this Gervais production, all mildly amusing in this supposedly inventive form of 'concept comedy' - A mangled comedy more like it. It doesn't stand-up to critiques from any age, let alone actual professionals, so if you enjoy 'Liar Liar' 'Chevy Chase' and a good old 'Rom-Com' in the style of 'The Office' - you may get some titillations, of course excluding sexual connotations; because it takes Anna McDoogles the whole film to see beyond the podgy nose and the cumbersome size of Bellison, even though he is a remarkably rich man, gifted with the wonderment of lying. Notably, blinkered by love, lust or whatever you wish to label attraction, Bellison engrossed with the idea of procreating with Anna to make podgy nosed babies, is incapable of taking off his roe-tinted glasses and seeing her for what she is? A product of Capitalism, who will abscond whenever her mood changes into the arms of a silicon moobed, chisel jawed man, richer than Bellison; that'll be the sequel. Bellison would've had to invent another mediocre human trait, to get her back.
Long term prophetical dividends?
Fans of Gervais - 'Ricky to his friends' will applaud it. The satire works a treat in the TV series 'The Office,' although 'The Invention of Lying' appears more of a concept, pilot film, rather than anything of 'beefy quality'. In several years to come it'll get consumed by better films and will be long forgotten. What was the name of the film again? See I've forgotten already. That's no lie.
Flicking through my Sky Anytime I spotted 'The Invention of Lying' directed by and starring Ricky Gervais and as I've enjoyed some of his previous work I decided to give this a go. This is a review for the movie only.
The story is set in the USA, in a world quite different to the one we know. On the outside things look very much the same - people go to work, own houses, have families. However the striking difference is that in this world there is no such thing as lying. Not because it is bad it's just that the concept just doesn't exist! Everyone has to tell the absolute truth with no thought to how this might affect others around them. No little white lies here to spare people's feelings - the comments are often blunt and cruel but no one knows any different.
The story focuses on Mark Bellison, played by Ricky Gervais, a forty something film script writer. The problem is that in this world the concept of fiction and imagination does not exist and thus the films produced by the company Mark works for are basically limited to lecture-style readings. He has always fancied Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner), a friend of a friend and ends up on a date with her. Like everyone else she is surprisingly blunt and tells Mark on meeting that she is not attracted to him and he is not 'genetically compatible' as they would have 'small, fat, snubby nosed children'!
The next day Mark gets fired and unable to pay his rent also evicted from his flat. He heads to the bank to withdraw what little money he has to try and move his stuff from the flat. When he gets there he is told that the systems are down but if he tells them how much money he needs they will let him have some. How trustworthy! The idea that Mark could lie doesn't even cross their minds! However the cogs in Mark's brain start to turn and he gets a 'Eureka' moment. Despite only having $300 in his account he asks for $800, thus telling the world's first lie!
Mark spends the next few days telling little white lies to try to make people happier. He also writes a new screenplay for a fictitious period of history which everyone loves and he is subsequently re-hired to help make the film. With his new-found success and confidence he approaches Anna again and convinces her to go out with him on a second date.
After the date Mark learns that his mother has suffered a heart attack and is seriously ill in hospital. He rushes to her bedside where he is told that she won't survive the night. Naturally his mother is terrified so Mark tells her that she will be going to a better place. He is overheard by the doctors and nurses who are amazed by what he said and spread the word. This is picked up by the media and Mark comes up with the idea of 'the bearded man in the sky' who judges us on what we do and if we want to go to heaven we have to do good things.
The events bring Anna and Mark closer together and they end up becoming best of friends. However Anna still believes they are not genetically compatible and starts to date film rival Brad. They soon announce their engagement. Mark is clearly devastated but can he turn events to his favour? Well that would be giving too much away so you'll have to watch and find out!
I thought the idea behind this film was quite original. The entire film was quite light hearted, witty in many places, and very easy to watch. It's amazing to think how in our everyday lives we tell little white lies or lie by omission in order to spare others feelings. It makes us question whether honesty is always the best policy!
Some of the comments made by people in the film were so blunt they made me cringe and laugh out loud at the same time! The scene where a woman tells someone she's just done the biggest poop in her life is a prime example! One other scene that stands out is when an advert for Coke is coming on the TV. As the person in the advert cannot lie about the product he basically tells the audience how bad and unhealthy Coke is and that he's only trying to sell it because it's his job!
I thought Ricky Gervais was very good in this film. He was very much the under-dog and you couldn't help but sympathise with him. I especially felt sorry for him when he was on his first date with Anna. During this Anna receives a call from her mother to see how things are progressing. Anna is surprisingly frank and tells her mother that she doesn't find him attractive, will not be going to bed with him and he would not even get a good night kiss! All this was said with Mark sitting across the table! And Anna was completely oblivious to the fact that her comments would hurt Mark's feelings.
It was also really nice to see some cameo roles played by Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson.
I thought the pace of the first half of the film was great but it seemed a little rushed towards the end. In particular I would have liked to see the relationship between Mark and Anna develop some more. Also, whilst the first half was very funny there were plenty of opportunities for comic moments in the second half, which for me just didn't materialise.
Overall I quite enjoyed this film but I probably wouldn't go out of my way to watch it again. Middle of the road 3 out of 5 stars from me!
I missed this at the cinemas as for some reason my local cinema was only showing it quite late, so I took the chance to see this the other day and now wish that I'd seen it at the cinema!
The film is set in a world where lying doesn't exist and everyone tells everyone the truth, for example on a date the woman will just state to the man that she isn't attracted to him, and films are simply retelling historical events. Mark Bellison is one of the people who writes scripts for these sort of films, but he has been given a boring time period and so therefore is unsuccessful. His date with Anna doesn't go well as she tells him that she isn't attracted to him. He is having a bad day and then ends up getting fired and evicted from his apartment as he doesn't have the $800. He goes to the bank to get out his remaining $300 to move out with, but when the computer is broken and he is asked how much is in his bank account, he says $800, and lying is invented!
Ricky Gervais played the lead and I have to say I wasn't expecting too much as I thought that Ghost Town looked good however when I saw it I really wasn't that impressed with him. However he pulled it off really well, and I think that this part should give him a platform for better things. His love interest is portrayed by Jennifer Garner (Ghosts of Girlfriend Past, etc) and although at the start they don't seem to be that good a couple they are definitely believable by the end with good chemistry. His rival is played by Jonah Hill and I didn't really find him a likeable character at all, he seemed strange, maybe this was the point but I also didn't think that his acting was up to much.
I really liked the concept of this film, and found it to be quite original which is always a good thing. I would definitely recommend it as I really enjoyed it!
Imagine a World where no one was able to lie, where every thought you have you say regardless of the impact it may have on someone else. For Mark Bellison this world is a reality but he is about to make a discovery that will change his life and the world around him forever. Having grown tired of being pushed around and unwanted by women Mark stumbles upon the concept of lying on the same day he's been dumped, fired and evicted. Now Mark has the ability to change his life and that of those around him but will that be enough to win the girl of his dreams and make him happier.
I have to admit when I saw the trailers for this movie I wasn't particularly sure. For starters I've always had a bit of a strange opinion about Ricky Gervais. In some things I've really enjoyed his performances but I do feel that Extra's for instance was massively over rated. That said I had recently enjoyed Ghost Town and was quite keen to see The Invention of Lying. With Gervais starring, writing and directing the movie it was certainly going to be a film that would play to his strengths. The end result is a rather dark comedy that gives a rather modern take on the story of creation and the 10 commandments.
As a director I thought Gervais and co director Matthew Robinson did a very admirable job. They really brought the story to life and with some very well scripted and clever scenes made a movie that is both funny and easy to watch. It think the combination of writer and director works well together here as they both know exactly what the desired end result needs to be. The comedy in places has a good mixture of being both light and dark in equal measure. The direction works well and while there are no real special effects to speak of, each scene is appropriately lit and gives off the desired effects.
You can tell from the plot, which has some very clever moments, that Gervais has had a large hand in writing it and it comes across a little like the Office did the first time around. It is a very well written and clever movie that shows a lot more originality than a lot of the comedy movies being churned out of Hollywood and for that reason alone I think it's worth seeing. Of course I think it would be fair to say if you don't really like Gervais then this will probably be your idea of hell. Not only is he the writer and director but also the lead actor as well and for that reason if you dislike him, you are going to hate this movie.
It would appear that slowly but surely Ricky Gervais is starting to break the American market. He is taking on certain roles like Ghost Town and his part in the Night at a Museum movies to raise his profile, whilst creating vehicles like this to display his talents. His character Mark in this movie reminds me a lot of his character from Ghost Town and just like in that movie it works. As the plot develops you find yourself identifying with Mark and hoping that his life starts to get better, especially after the nightmare start his character has to this movie. There is a bit of a spark between Gervais and his co-star Jennifer Garner and in fact there is some truth in the incredibly clever way their relationship develops on screen.
In Jennifer Garner they have cast a female lead that ticks all the boxes that a character like Anna should have. Her performance is convincing as she slowly falls in love with Gervais's character but struggles with the world in which they life. The rest of the cast is made up of a mixture of big Hollywood stars such as Edward Norton, Tina Fey and Phillip Seymour Hoffman combined with regular Gervais stars Stephen Merchant and even former Eastender Shaun Williamson. The cast work really well and all are very adept at supporting Gervais's character very well.
Overall this is a very clever movie that brings something slightly more original to not only the regular comedy market but also the romantic comedy market. It is a retake on the moment people realise there is a god and with Gervais's unique sense of humour it works particularly well. The script is both funny and thought provoking. It's a movie I really would have no hesitation to recommend but if you really can't stand Ricky Gervais, which I know there are a lot of people who can't then I think it is fair to say that you will hate this movie. For me though it is a film I enjoyed and will recommend.
The Invention of Lying was one of the smartest movies I've seen within the last six months. Ricky Gervais is a very funny man who has been around for quite some time in the United Kingdom, but is no more than a rising star in the United States.
I liked the primary concept of the movie. I thought it was simple, but smart at the same time. Although I've only ever seen one Ricky Gervais movie, I expected to be laughing almost the entire time. Maybe I was expecting too much from the beginning.
However, I felt that script, much like Ricky Gervais's character, couldn't keep the story straight as the movie continually progressed. I suppose a firm believer in this film might make the excuse that the writers of the film are trying to display the negative effects of lying, but that's not enough for me.
As a member of the audience, I walked away with two things: a moral lesson in an unexpected place and disappointment.
I gave this movie four stars because I like Ricky Gervais. I thought that the movie was both funny and creative, but the fact that they couldn't really keep the story straight and/or keep me interested made me downgrade this film.
Is honesty really the best policy, well in this world it is all that is known, no one can lie and everyone speaks the truth no matter how hurtful it may be. Mark is a script writer for a film company but he is down on his luck after a very unsuccessful date with a woman he has liked for ages and then loosing his job he really feels rubbish.
Things are about to change for mark when he goes to the bank to withdraw some money to pay his rent and he gets something in his bran telling him to say he has more money than he actually does. This works and Mark realises that he can tell lies. He uses this to his advantage and soon his life is looking up. He tries to explain this to his friends but they cannot understand it so Mark goes out to get what he wants.
He calls up Anna who he had the unsuccessful date with and makes sure she agree to another one and they seem to hit it off slightly more now that Mark is slightly more successful. Hs worlds turns completely around though when he goes to speak to his scared dying Mom and tells her about magical place where she will go after she dies and how she will get a mansion but this is over heard by the Doctors and soon Mark is world famous and everyone wants to know all about this afterlife.
Will Mark tell the truth about his lie or will he continue to use his power to make his life just as he wants it and will he ever get Anna to fall in love with him?
Hubby bought this film some time ago but I have not really been inclined to watch it as t stars Ricky Gervais and I really do not like him but after seeing him in a few other films and actually quite enjoying his performance I decided to give this one a go. I found the story to be good and quite different from any I have seen before and the way the comedy was mixed in with the more serious side of the story was very good and made for some good entertainment.
Ricky Gervais plays the lead role of Mark and he did actually give a good performance. He played an English man living in America and he just seemed to be himself and not putting on any bad accents or appearance and for me this made him easier to watch. He was good at playing the sad and down on his luck side of the character and I genuinely believed the emotions and feelings he was trying to put across. He worked well with Jennifer Garner who played Anna and I thought there was a good chemistry between them both. Gervais did bring the majority of the humour to the film but this seemed to come effortless to him and I think this is what made me find t funnier than t actually was. He was natural with all his lines and even when he was bumbling lines it was apparent that this is how he wanted the character to be portrayed.
Jennifer Garner was good in the role of Anna and I loved how outspoken and truthful she was, this made for some very funny moments and how she managed to deliver some of the lines without laughing was beyond both me and hubby. She seemed confident and genuine on screen and this did help us to warm to her character. We did have some very good supporting role in the film and some of the actors included, Jonah Hill, Louis C K and Jeffrey Tambor. They were all very good and strong characters and I think they helped to give the story some much needed depth.
The film was set in America in the present day so not much effort was needed on the costumes or sets, they all looked very good and fitted into the film very well. One thing I did notice was how dull everything looked and how boring peoples lives were. We saw some of the TV adverts which were being shown on the TV and they were very dull and uninteresting and even the way people were when walking around town showed them to be quite sad and down on life, there really wasn't much colour in the film and I would have liked to have seen more.
There are some very funny moments in this film and they do manly come from Gravis' character of Mark, he seems to deliver his lines in a way that has me laughing when he is not even trying to be funny. The restaurant scenes and when he picked Anna up for their date were the best and funniest of the movie. The comedy may not be to everyone liking but both me and bubby enjoyed it.
There were no real special effects in the film but the few we had were good and fitted unnoticed into the film. The music was good but nothing special but it did fit well with the film and story.
The DVD which we have does have some bonus features which include:-
Prequel: The Dawn of Lying
A Truly 'Honest' Making of Featurettes with Ricky Gervais
Meet Karl Pilkington
More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes
As we have not watched these I am not able to make comment on them so this review really s to be classed as a film only one.
The running time of the film is 1 hour and 36 minutes and I did find this was just long enough. The rate is a 12 as it does contain moderate comic sex references. We paid just £5 for this DVD a few weeks ago and I feel this is a much more reasonable price than the full price of around £10.
I have to give this film a 4/5 stars as it really did surprise me. The acting was good and so too was the story. This is definitely a film for all fans of Gervais or those who enjoyed Ghost Town which was also written by and starred Gervais.
This for me, is the sort of film you go and watch when your in a laugh.
It is basically about a man who learns how to lie when no one can, and he uses it to his advantage.
The storyline itself, I didnt think was too bad. It starts off quite good but then in the middle, when he is doing all his lying and stuff, I thought it got a bit boring.
i also wasnt impressed with the ending. Not much went on and it was a bit sudden. I was expecting a really good ending to keep up with the humour of the story, but actually there wasnt.
The plot of the story also wasnt that good. I thought it was good that no one else could lie, and he could. This brought so much humour into it throught the film, not only with speech from people but thngs wrote on houses and buses too. Although he learnt how to lie, he didnt really do much with it. He used it to help out his life, but I thought it would have been better if he maybe even somehow used it to save the world!
The story could have been much improved, but if you have the patience to sit through, you should be ok.
I thought the acting was very good from Ricky Gervais, as always. He made things funny and brought humour into it.
So would I reccomend you see this film?
Yes, overall I would. It is a good film to watch, and you will probably like it, but dont expect too much when watching this.
The film is set in a world where lying has never been invented. People go around saying exactly what is on there mines, there is no sugar coating involved. So, for a short, chubby, poor, unemployed Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), Life is bad to say the least. After years of being called names and rejected he finally gets his break in life when he manages to tell a lie. No matter what he says people believe him and this leads him into some great, awkward, funny and difficult situations.
Will he get the woman of his dreams Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner - Alias)? Will he manage to beat his rival Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe) and become famous? Well in a world where lying hasn't been invented...Anything is possible!
What to expect
The story is a great concept, and the script is written to a very high standard. Ricky Gervais has excelled himself in that department. However, when we come to the acting its not as great. Ricky Gervais portrays a chubby loser, something which he is used to doing, so his performance is as expected. No better, no worse. Another bad point is the chemistry between the characters in this film. At times it does feel slightly awkward between characters at integral parts of the film which does ruin some parts. However, there are some very funny moments that will make you at least giggle.
Is it for you?
If you are a fan of Ricky Gervais' work then i strongly recommend this film. It isn't all i expected it to be but i did enjoy it, and found myself laughing aloud at times. It also makes a good romantic comedy film in general, its easy to watch, with no complicated storylines or tragic moments. Its rated PG-13 because of language, sexual references and drug references. The Run Time is approximately 99 minutes.
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