Amazon Holiday

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Invention of Lying

(Guest Review by Russ)

Q: What’s the movie about?

A: In a world where people can only tell the truth, an unremarkable, dumpy screenwriter (Ricky Gervais) discovers the art of lying and uses it to gain power, money, and hot chicks.

Q: Who’s in the movie?

A: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Donna Sorbello, Nathan Corddry, Edward Norton, Martin Starr, Jason Bateman, Christopher Guest, Stephen Merchant, Shaun Williamson

Q: Is this movie worth the price of admission?

A: PhotobucketProceed with Caution. Fans of the original The Office, Extras, and Ricky Gervais in general, will find their typical chuckles here, but the film ultimately wastes a lot of great comedic acting talent on uninspired cameos, while also not living up to an incredibly inspired premise.

Q: Will this movie make me laugh?

A: No big belly laughs, but if you don't find Ricky Gervais funny on some level, you should sign up for a sense of humor class.

Q: Will this movie make me cry?

A: Ricky Gervais just might turn out to be a better dramatic actor than we ever suspected, and the scene in which he proves that may well bring tears.

Q: Will this movie be up for any awards?

A: Most controversial movie that no one is talking about. Rarely has an Atheist declaration in a main stream film gotten so little attention.

Q: How is the Acting?

A: Most of the characters are two dimensional caricatures of people that would never exist, saying ridiculous things with as much seriousness as they can muster. But within that, Jennifer Garner stands out, gamely proving once again why she is a true movie star, as she figures out a way to create a character out of nothing in a film that’s about as deep as a puddle of water.

Q: How is the Directing?

A: I will admit to being a huge Ricky Gervais fan and he is credited as co-director on this, so it pains me to say that the direction is pretty bad. This is the sort of premise that would have really benefited from someone who could have put a visually creative world on screen, but instead, this movie consists of the most rudimentary of camera set-ups, moves and blocking.

Q: How is the story/script?

A: The script feels like a first draft by an incredibly brilliant and hilarious writer. It has great potential, but the studio executives should have given these two major notes: "1. Half way through, The Invention of Lying becomes about the biggest lie of all. This is a great twist, but it has zero pay-off, zero consequences for our hero, and thus ends up being toothless and unnecessary. Cut it. You can stick with the love story as the main theme, and that will free up room in the script to develop a much stronger execution of the main premise: A world in which people can't lie. Then, when the film does well, because it's a brilliant execution of a brilliant premise, we'll use that interesting twist for the sequel-- where it too can be developed in the greater depth it deserves. Number 2: Just because people can only tell the truth in this movie-world doesn’t also mean they have to blurt out whatever insult they happen to be thinking at the time. What you have created is a world where no one has an inner monologue, so all their subconscious thoughts are revealed. That's not the same as a world where no one is capable of lying..." But on the flip side, the lack of rules does help the script conform to Ricky Gervais’ one-liners, reactions, and awkward brand of comedy.

Q: Is there anything else worth mentioning about the movie?

A: While the story doesn't hold together, this is the type of movie that college students will discover on TV and DVD for years to come, finding depth and relevance in the humor, as well as the questions about whether or not there is a God. Mostly, they will see this depth because they are stoned on marijuana cigarettes.

Q: Where can I see the trailer?


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