Newest Review: ... 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 res... more
Well, If I'm Being Honest...
The Invention of Lying (DVD)
Member Name: littlepenguin
The Invention of Lying (DVD)
Advantages: great concept, very good acting, constantly funny
Disadvantages: few females
Ricky Gervais was recently interviewed on The One Show and this brought my attention to his film 'The Invention of Lying.' Believe me, it is very much his film, as he not only starred in it but was also scriptwriter, producer and director. Quite impressive really!
It's amazing how well Gervais has gone down State-side after they bought 'The Office' from us Brits. In fact, his profile went so high that he was even asked to present The Golden Globes this year! So this film is pretty much American, except from Gervais himself, but I didn't find that detrimental to his form of comedy. In fact, the ensemble cast and his leading lady were all brilliant at performing his deadpan style of humour.
The film begins with a charming introduction from Gervais, who explains that the world of the film is an alternative reality in which it is impossible to lie. This has very harsh and humorous consequences - particularly for "loser" Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) whose colleagues openly admit they hate him and women freely confess they are out of his league.
I think it's fair to say that this completely honest world is established very thoroughly and even quite believably. From a bus advert stating "Pepsi - for when they don't have Coke" to a cheap motel's description being "for intercourse with a stranger." These little details ensured I was chuckling throughout and were often very clever.
'The Invention of Lying' is essentially a romantic comedy (just a very high concept one!) which leads us nicely onto our beautiful leading lady, Jennifer Garner, playing sensible Anna. You may remember her as Vanessa from 'Juno' and she also stars in the more recent 2010 film 'Valentine's Day.'
Mark somehow manages to bag a date with Anna. Although the pair has a reasonably enjoyable time together, Anna really doesn't want to have "little fat kids with snub noses" and so dismisses Mark and his bad gene pool.
And so Mark's bad luck continues as he is fired from his job as a scriptwriter for screenplays (all their films are factual, as they can't lie!) and can't afford his rent money.
So completely down on his luck he goes to withdraw his last £300 from the bank...but the system is down...so the lady asks him how much he would like to withdraw?
This is the moment where a switch trips in his brain, the words £800 come out of his mouth and he is handed the money with no query. The invention of lying. But will it work with everybody? Well, after convincing a gorgeous lady that the world will end unless she sleeps with him, I think it's fair to say that it definitely works!
The film continues and soon Mark goes to visit his Mum at a residential home. Being greeted with the frank "Are you here to abandon an old person?"
His Mum is fatally ill and when she goes into hospital confesses to her son that she is absolutely terrified of the nothingness that waits for her.
Desperate to comfort his poor Mother, Marc invents a magical place where we go after death - your own mansion with all the people you've ever loved there and eternal happiness.
But as his Mum dies, poor Mark hadn't accounted for the doctors listening in awe and this is when the trouble really starts!
I won't give the whole story away, but I will say that I very much enjoyed the digs at religion being made up. The way he does it is not offensive, just very funny and rather apt.
There is a hilarious scene where Mark has long dark hair and hasn't shaved for months. He staggers out of the bed with his white duvet wrapped around him and slips on his sandals - well, you can guess who he looked like!!
Firstly, Gervais was good enough to take on a leading man role, but I would describe his acting as satisfactory, rather than incredible. His highlight had to be in hospital with his Mum, where for once we got to see some real emotion and truth, the catch in his voice was just beautiful. The relationship the two characters had was utterly believable and I was gripped.
Jennifer Garner was a pleasant surprise and I think she managed the humour really well. Her character was strong and the development was nice to see during the course of the movie - from a rather shallow single woman to someone who can see past all that. Her chemistry with Ricky could have been more intense, but I still got that they shared a sweet sort of love between them.
I believe Jonah Hill was quite a catch to get in this movie and I know Ricky is a big fan of his. He played the depressed, suicidal colleague incredibly well, but it was a relief for the audience when Mark's lie made Frank start to believe in himself and his future.
Mark's other best mate, Greg, was portrayed by Louis C.K - someone who played an utterly convincing moron! He was very gullible and in some ways weak to begin with, but come the end of the film he is the one encouraging Mark and picking him up when he's down.
The other notable character for me was that of Brad Kessler, an arch nemesis for Mark, who was played by Rob Lowe. As his character was such a slime ball it was great watching the moments where he suffered!
The Special Features
I sat through all the extra features for this film and have to admit they were disappointing. I felt it was all too light hearted, so much so that I didn't feel I learned anything about the making of the film or their experiences working on it - other than learning the cast and crew would regularly fire toy guns at one another and that Ricky has an excruciatingly annoying laugh and continuously corpses.
My Overall Opinion
This film is certainly worth watching. It is continuously funny and has enough of a plot to want to keep with Mark and Anna's story. The lead and supporting actors are all very good (as mentioned above). If anything I feel it could have done with a stronger female presence, but perhaps it was aimed more at men than us women. Maybe Anna could have had a best friend?
The Invention of lying did reasonably well, reaching number 5 at The Box Office in it's first week of release. I would definitely recommend this film if you're looking for something that doesn't take itself too seriously. A good laugh!
Summary: A good laugh!