Sunday, 12 September 2010

Film Review: THE INVENTION OF LYING (2009)

Writer/Directors: Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson
Running time: 96 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 12

UK release date: 2nd October 2009

Watched on Sky+ Sunday 12th September 2010.


I remember last year when this came out it was a bit of a flop in theatres and wasn’t well received by several critics. Now I’m not a great fan of some of the work Ricky Gervais, however, there is a certain something about it that keeps me watching what he produces on the screen. And so we come to this film. A gentle comedy, of course, written and produced in the unmistakeable Gervais fashion. Here’s a little about the plot before I tell you what I think of it.

In a world where everyone is honest and nobody tells a lie, in fact they don’t even have a word for it, in this world Mark Bellison is an unsuccessful screenwriter. When we first meet him he is on a date with Anna McDoogles, a girl he has loved from afar for a long time. Things don’t go too well, she is way out of his league and she tells him she won’t be seeing him again. To add insult to injury, the following day he is sacked from his job. His landlord wants the rent and he goes to the bank to get some money out. This is when he discovers he can lie! He pays his rent and then goes out to test his new-found talent. His two friends Frank and Greg tag along and they go on a bit of a spree. Mark makes up a story and writes it up as the best screenplay ever written. This gets him his job back, much to the annoyance of his colleagues Brad Kessler and Shelley, who both think they’re better than him. He contacts Anna again and she agrees to go out on another date with him but he is called to see his dying mother in hospital. Wanting to comfort her, he makes up a story about a wonderful afterlife and, once this gets out, this is where life gets just a little bit more complicated for Mark! And I’ll leave it here.

This is a nice gentle comedy with some nice moments in it. No, it’s not the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, but I did find it quite entertaining. I particularly liked the way the advertising was done; when you can’t lie it makes it kind of interesting! Decent performances all round, so honourable mentions go to Ricky Gervais as Mark Bellison, Jennifer Garner as Anna McDoogles, Jonah Hill as Frank, Louis C.K. as Greg, Rob Lowe as Brad Kessler and Tina Fey as Shelley. There were also some nice cameos from Christopher Guest, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton.

I found the world this film inhabits quite interesting at first, but about two thirds of the way through it got a little annoying. Having said that, I did like the understated way the story was portrayed although I did find the ending a little predictable. So over all quite an entertaining film with some nice moments. I quite enjoyed it: Recommended.

My score: 6.8/10

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