Invention of Lying available on Blu-ray™, DVD and Download 1/19.
Cover Art and Menus: 4/10
The cover is one of the “design 101” regurgitated style deprived types. They put the innocuous faces of the leading folks on the cover in boxes with some quotes and a wanna be 60’s split screen presentation. I’m not a fan, as you can probably guess by now. Why oh why do they think this is an attractive look for a movie cover or poster? It’s boring and so overused it should be in the bottom of my kitchen drawer with the tattered old dish towels.
The menu isn’t much better, just plunked together with some of the remnants of the cover ideas thrown in for that very blah effect.
- Prequel: The Dawn Of Lying – This was meant to be the opening of the movie and I’m so glad it wasn’t. It’s an overly cutesy low-budget looking caveman sequence that has some of the worse CGI you’re gonna see in the 21st century. It’s kind of funny and a huge effort for such a so-so comedy bit, and it doesn’t fit into the movie at all, which is probably why somebody with a suit and tie and who has more power in Hollywood than Mr. Gervais said to chop it out. 🙂
- A Truly Honest making Of Featurette – Talking heads, some funny stuff about Ricky Gervais and on the set, but not a lot of actual making of information. It’s more of a short about the hilarity that comes with working with Mr. The Office.
- Meet Karl Pilkington – If you haven’t heard of him yet this might get lost on you. Pilkington is a friend of Ricky Gervais. They did a podcast together in which Karl said strange and interesting things and Gervais laughed at him hysterically. It was quite funny actually. So, this is Karl coming to America for his big roll, which was part of the opening sequence of cavemen, which was cut out of the movie.
- Ricky & Matt’s Video Podcasts – This is simply a few little video romps made by these grown men…who might have a bit of the You Tube syndrome. It’s funny, but more would be better 🙂
- Additional Scenes – Som e of the cut scenes might have added a little more zip here and there, but nothing that’s going to make the movie that much better. Neutrality is the word of the day.
- More Laughter: Corpsing & Outtakes – Ricky Gervais laughing??? That’s just crazy talk!!
- Digital Copy – It is what it is.
The Movie: 6/10
A jaunt down a fun little road in a world much like our own, except that humans have never learned to lie. Interesting concept, yes. In a comedy kind of way Gervais pulls it off. If, however, you dig a little deeper along this road and you find a few cracks, long, deep cracks that are best skipped, jumped, and hopped around blissfully paying attention only to the goodness that is to be found in The Invention of Lying.
People don’t know how to lie. One guy stumbles on the skill after what seems like a lifetime of just too much honesty from women, co-workers, bosses, people, society. He’s not conventionally handsome, and no one every politely wiggles around that fact. It’s a world in which you can say things like, “I like you but I could never mate with you because i don’t want fat, short, pudgy nosed kids.” or something to that effect. And he has had enough.
This is kind of a comedy study of what a man would do who invented the first lie. To what end would you use your new found talent in the world? Everyone believes you because no one else lies, ever, ever. Go in a bank and say your account has $800 instead of $300. The clerk believes you and blames the system being wrong and hands you $800. Ok, that sounds awesome!
The thing is, it’s not a fully flushed out idea. I mean, how can you explore that big of an idea in a little movie? He moves his way through improving his life, finding some love, hopefully, and accidentally inventing religion along the way. See, that’s the curve in the road. It’s very deep really, the big deep ideas flow from Gervais’s brain, and this time it might not have all come together just right, but it’s pretty good for what it is. Rather, what it turns into.
I reckon that this movie would have been a hell of a lot better if it were made in England. Let’s face it, sometimes Hollywood touches something and it turns into a muddled little pile of executive hoo-haa. Invention of Lying has great moments, great ideas, but they are all held to some strict rules of the road when it comes to Romantic Comedy Highway….and that adds an element of boringness I’m afraid.
The cast is good. Jennifer Garner as the counterpart to Gervais’s new lying persona is better than I give her credit for, so I’m pleased about that. Louis CK is the best friend who is kind of the bar hound guy who is endearing and a little bit sad at the same time. Gervais does a fine job, as always he’s pretty much the same guy we see in most of his projects. If you like him, you’ll like it. If you don’t, I predict you won’t.
That’s about it really. It’s a funnyish movie with lots of excellent thought provoking ideas that make it so worth watching. It’s a mixed bag. I think the glossy style and tidy box office flavored charm does it a dis-service.
Audio & Video: 8/10
The Invention Of Lying is a pretty bland film to look at which is mostly down to its very ordinary cinematography. As Cidtalk remarked on the Podcast, “Karl Pilkington’s extra looked more interesting” I agree. This doesn’t mean the movie is a slouch in high definition though as the picture quality is quite good with some natural flesh tones and vibrant color pallet. I am not 100% sure but I think Warner have used some form of DNR on this release which gives it a softer look than most modern HD comedy’s but only the most discerning viewer will notice. Overall the transfer is pretty good just nothing to get to excited about.
The soundtrack is also fairly underwhelming but is in line with the theatrical experience. These types of movies will never win awards for exceptional sound design anyway. What matters is the dialog (which the movie is 100% made up of) is clear and while this is mostly true, there are a couple of scenes where ambient noise muffles some of Ricky Gervais’s lines. The tail end of the movie has some great music which I feel needs a little more power in the mix to get over it’s point but apart from that I had no issues with the Dolby TRUEHD 5.1 track.
If you want to have a fun movie night rent this movie, and Shaun of the Dead. Good combo night for laughs, ideas, zombies, and lots of British accents to go around. If you must own it, look for it at bargain prices, otherwise I wouldn’t need this one on my personal shelf. Your personal shelf might have different requirements.
Overall Score 6/10