The Invention of Lying

( 8 )

Overview

Ricky Gervais directs himself in The Invention of Lying, a comedy in which everyone in the world tells the truth except for one misfit in the film industry, who after discovering the act of lying, milks it to become the world's most phenomenal performer. Matthew Robinson will co-direct from his own script, which he and Gervais collaborated on. Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, and Louis C.K. co-star in the Media Rights Capital production, with John Hodgman, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, and Jeffrey Tambor ...
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Overview

Ricky Gervais directs himself in The Invention of Lying, a comedy in which everyone in the world tells the truth except for one misfit in the film industry, who after discovering the act of lying, milks it to become the world's most phenomenal performer. Matthew Robinson will co-direct from his own script, which he and Gervais collaborated on. Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Jonah Hill, and Louis C.K. co-star in the Media Rights Capital production, with John Hodgman, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, and Jeffrey Tambor rounding out the rest of the cast.
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Special Features

Prequel: the dawn of lyring ; A truly "honest" making-of featurette; Meet Karl Pilkington; Ricky and Matt's video podcasts; Additional scenes; More laughter: corpsing and outtakes
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Buchanan
Given a choice between living in a world where lies don't exist or one where deception is commonplace, I'll take the one where the truth is optional -- not because I believe dishonesty is a virtue, but because we get the good movies. In The Invention of Lying, co-writer/director and star Ricky Gervais plays a portly, snub-nosed screenwriter living in a world where the very notion of telling a lie is unfathomable. It's a sly comment on Hollywood that in this world, movies are nothing more than filmed lectures -- history lessons read by a stuffy man sitting in a fancy chair imagine the introduction to Masterpiece Theatre spread out over two hours, with not a single embellishment or pesky stylistic flourish to get in the way of the riveting historical facts. This incisive gag is but one of many that make The Invention of Lying a high-concept romantic comedy that really stands apart from the pack. It's not just the situation that makes the film work, but the way that co-writer/directors Gervais and Matthew Robinson present us with a inverse caricature of contemporary society as well. By using the basic conceit as a springboard to explore why we make the decisions that we do, they deliver a shrewd comedy that's airy and entertaining, yet far from vacuous -- and can actually be enjoyed on a few different levels. There's plenty to chew on philosophically if you choose to follow Gervais into the rabbit hole of religious humor that drives the latter part of the story, but even if you don't feel like digging so deep, the basic idea still works wonderfully as a playful jab at our penchant for stretching the truth -- occasionally for reasons we ourselves don't even seem to understand. The story opens to find Lecture Films screenwriter Mark Bellison Gervais living in a world where lies don't exist, and about to join the ranks of the unemployed. He's looked down upon by his secretary and his co-workers -- including the impossibly handsome, nauseatingly vain fellow screenwriter Brad Kessler Rob Lowe -- and about to get his already-weeping heart stomped into the dirt by the radiantly gorgeous Anna McDoogles Jennifer Garner, who agrees to join him on a date despite being put off by his dumpy looks. Then, in a moment of desperation, Mark inexplicably makes up the world's very first lie -- though he isn't quite aware of what it is or why he did it. Before long, Mark has figured out a way to turn lies into wealth and fame, though it all threatens to come crashing down after word gets out that he knows a secret so profound it could alter the course of human history. But even with the world hanging on Mark's every word, he still has trouble convincing Anna that he's the guy for her. At its core, The Invention of Lying is a hilarious critique of our constant search for something better. Anna ponders choosing Brad over Mark in the desire for a genetic match that will result in a beautiful family, Mark longs for the sprawling mansion that will validate his success, and despite having all of the fame and success a guy could ever hope for, even Brad strives to one-up Mark by stealing away Anna. But what happens when fate smiles down on us and we actually get these things -- does it really improve the standard of our lives in any significant way? Those are, of course, some pretty heady ideas to package in a sugary-sweet shell, but the fact that such an outwardly benign comedy ultimately sets its sights on religion may sour the flavor for reverent viewers who see faith as a topic not to be joked about. Still, it's hard not to laugh as Mark addresses the world with a series of decrees mounted on a pair of pizza boxes, and truth be told, it's a bit of a relief to see someone willing to find humor in a subject that has grown increasingly solemn and divisive over the last few decades. In addition to being driven by a fun, original idea that remains fresh even after the novelty has dissipated, The Invention of Lying also benefits from the efforts of an enormously talented cast. Standing at the center of the story like a clever Lou Costello after histrionics-removal surgery, Gervais manages the unique feat of retaining audience goodwill even after deceiving the entire planet. Meanwhile, antagonist Lowe seems to have his top lip surgically lengthened for comedic effect while delivering outrageously egotistical dialogue without a hint of irony, and -- miracle of miracles -- Gervais and Robinson have somehow managed to elicit a nuanced performance from Jonah Hill that yields not so much as a single shouted line. It's a pleasant change of pace to see the overbearing loudmouth tone it down a notch or ten, and a promising indicator that Hill actually possesses some range as an actor, given the right direction. Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, Jason Bateman, and Martin Starr also get some solid laughs, even if the latter four contribute what essentially amount to glorified cameos. In a time when fables have fallen out of fashion, Gervais and company have crafted an imaginative, cautionary yarn that's playfully egregious and slyly subversive; it's got a distinctive bite, but spares us the venom. Stories of characters who compromise their integrity in search of fame are a dime a dozen, but by creating a world where honesty is compulsive, Gervais and Robinson offer acute insight into the more peculiar facets of human nature while simultaneously taking a thinly veiled jab at the very system they're working within. That's quite an accomplishment for a comedy, much less a mainstream one released by a major Hollywood studio.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/19/2010
  • UPC: 883929049561
  • Original Release: 2009
  • Rating:

  • Source: Warner Home Video
  • Presentation: Special Edition / Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:39:00
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Sales rank: 11,034

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ricky Gervais Mark Bellison
Jennifer Garner Anna McDoogles
Louis C.K. Greg
Rob Lowe Brad Kessler
Jonah Hill Frank
Jeffrey Tambor Anthony
Fionnula Flanagan Martha Bellison
Tina Fey Shelley
Christopher Guest Nathan Goldfrappe
John Hodgman Wedding Overseer
Nathan Corddry News Reporter
Jimmi Simpson Bob
Jason Bateman Doctor
Martin Starr Waiter #1
Donna Sorbello Anna's Mother
Ruben Santiago-Hudson Landlord
Stephanie March Blonde
Alton Fitzgerald White Angelo Badsmith
Philip Seymour Hoffman Jim the Bartender
Edward Norton Cop
Roz Ryan Nurse #1
Michael Patrick Gough Homeless Man
Arnie Burton Waiter at Fancy Restaurant
Ashlie Atkinson Bank Teller
Bobby Moynihan Assistant
Shaun Williamson Richard Bellison
Stephen Merchant Man at the Door
Cole Jensen Short Fat Brian
Conner Rayburn Son
Lisa Paige Robinson Arguing Girlfriend
Matthew Stadelmann Arguing Boyfriend
Dreama Walker Receptionist
Rachel Harker Woman in Business Suit
Tate Ellington Waiter #2
Ken Cheeseman Shouting Man
David Pittu Tour Guide
Nada Despotovich Nurse #2
Joe Badalucco Blue Collar Guy
Celeste Oliva Secretary
Technical Credits
Ricky Gervais Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Matthew Robinson Director, Screenwriter
Rachel Abarbanell Associate Producer
Tim Atack Score Composer
Sue Baden-Powell Executive Producer, Producer
Susie de Santo Costumes/Costume Designer
Terry Dougas Executive Producer
Dana DuFine Musical Direction/Supervision
Priscilla Elliott Art Director
Ted Field Executive Producer
Glenn Freemantle Sound/Sound Designer
Chris Gill Editor
Alexander Hammond Production Designer
Adam Maxwell Keene Asst. Director
Lynn Kressel Casting
Paris Kasidokostas Latsis Executive Producer
Dan Lin Producer
Francine Maisler Casting
Lynda Obst Producer
Oly Obst Producer
Tim Shirstedt Cinematographer
Tim Suhrstedt Cinematographer
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting approach toward religion

    WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS. Okay, so the first lie he tells in the story is for his own financial benefit, but the second one is successful in putting his mother's mind at ease. She is on her deathbed and she voices her terror that she's headed for "an eternity of nothing." Moved to tears, he tells her about Heaven and I say kudos to Gervais for finding a terrific way to address the value of religious belief - it fulfills the emotional need for comfort that just about everyone has ever had. But in the story, his character doesn't see the consequences of his words and within a day the media and indeed the world have gone bananas over this incredible knowledge that somehow he alone possessed. Then we move into the murkier aspects of faith: he writes 10 rules onto the backs of two pizza boxes, and as he announces them to the crowd outside his apartment there are of course myriad questions and objections. There's quite a bit more to the film than the scenes I mentioned, but those moments are what stood out for me since I'm also a non-believer (but was a Christian at one time). Overall a good film with plenty of laughs because of everyone else's straightforward comments, no matter how rude or mean-spirited.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The funniest poke at religion yet!

    Too funny! It will be lost on the people of faith but for the rest of us a must own!

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Funny

    The Invention of Lying is a comedy, based on the premise than in an alternate universe, people can`t lie - they are simply unable to. They tell the truth, what`s on their mind all the time. Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is a very unsuccesful perosn,both in his work (he is just fired) and his private life (the girl he has been dreaming about has absolutely no interest in him), that is, until he utters the world`s first lie, which shall be followed by many. Hilarity ensues, naturally.
    Personally, I liked this movie. Ricky Gervais is fantastic. Sometimes it is painful to even watch his sufferings. Jennifer Garner(love interest)and Rob Lowe (archenemy), and the others characters are good too. Then again, it kind of fell flat towards the end, and the whole romantic thing was too much for me - but it was funny.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Gervais Shone Through in "Lying"

    Films like "The Invention of Lying" generally give out all they've got to offer in as long as it takes you to read the title. Characters which are too naïve to tell a lie brazenly share every thought which crosses their minds. They are the the cinematic equivalent of the jerk on the road who can't slow down simply by coming off the gas pedal; he must frequently and inconsiderately slam on his brakes. Sadly, this makes the first half-hour of the movie nothing more than pale imitation of Jim Carrey's "Liar Liar".

    Fortunately, the film takes off from there, tackling the ever-touchy issue of God. Anyone familiar with Ricky Gervais knows that he's an outspoken atheist, and he was uncompromising in this film. Still, he handles it delicately, at one moment vindicating faith and at the next relegating it to the world of the fantastic. The films journey, lined with its central comedic conceit, is an emotional trek that makes the film well worth watching, and outstanding in it's class.

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    Posted August 3, 2011

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    Posted August 26, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2010

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