The Invention of Lying (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 99 minutes
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe
Director: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
I really enjoyed Ricky Gervais's previous effort, Ghost Town quite a bit. I thought it was a sweet, clever comedy. It didn't try to be something it wasn't - the characters were just endearing enough to like them and you were invested in the plot. But The Invention of Lying comes off as Gervais's sophomore slump. It's not necessarily a bad movie - but the material is more subject to an SNL skit than a full-length movie.
First of all, the idea of humans not being able to lie is pretty clever. But the execution and logic behind the movie is a bit faulty. Not only do all the characters speak the truth, they pretty much say all of their thoughts out loud. I didn't expect this - it made for the same joke over and over: that the truth is brutally funny. But the joke wears thin after more than a half an hour when every single character is shallow and awful, especially to Gervais's character, Mark. And another problem I had with the movie was - why now? Why Mark? And how the hell did his brain just make the connection to lie (I know, I know, it's just a comedy, but my logical mind must be satisfied!)? The world is just like it is, except somehow humans haven't evolved into telling lies. It's just a little bit illogical to me and that bugs me.
And like I said earlier, most of the characters are just one dimensional and not likable. Even Mark, who we're supposed to feel sympathy for, just comes off as a twat. It's not particularly satisfying when he ends up with Jennifer Garner's character because she's just so dull and shallow. There absolutely no chemistry and it feels like the studio wanted Gervais to fit in a romantic plot to satisfy the mainstream audience. But instead the whole movie just keeps circling around the two leads getting together and loses its way. It's trying to be that laugh out loud comedy with a romantic subplot - but each part ends up watering the other down. Some scenes are funny, but it could have been a really fantastic fifteen minute skit and that's all. So I would pass this one up if your looking for a belly full of laughs.
Rating: Not Worth Paying For!