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The Invention of Lying (2009)

tomatometer

58

Average Rating: 5.9/10
Reviews Counted: 182
Fresh: 105 | Rotten: 77

It doesn't quite follow through on its promise, and relies too heavily on shopworn romantic comedy tropes, but The Invention of Lying is uncommonly sly and funny.

50

Average Rating: 5.6/10
Critic Reviews: 40
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 20

It doesn't quite follow through on its promise, and relies too heavily on shopworn romantic comedy tropes, but The Invention of Lying is uncommonly sly and funny.

audience

39

liked it
Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 666,276

My Rating

Movie Info

"The Invention of Lying" takes place in an alternate reality in which lying--even the concept of a lie--does not even exist. Everyone--from politicians to advertisers to the man and woman on the street--speaks the truth and nothing but the truth with no thought of the consequences. But when a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards. In a world where every word is assumed to be the absolute truth, Mark easily lies his way to

PG-13,

Comedy

,

Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Jan 19, 2010

$18.4M

Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (183) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (105) | Rotten (77) | DVD (14)

There are cycles of inspiration and rebirth, but the barbed promise of the early going loses its way in choices aimed at sentimentality rather than, as Harvey Kurtzman memorably put it, humor in a jugular vein.

November 22, 2009 Full Review Source: Film.com
Film.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's bogged down in too many squishy romantic-comedy pieties.

October 5, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies
At the Movies
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I think the first half hour would be almost impossible to sustain because it is so inspired.

October 5, 2009 Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The last third of the movie is as bad as anything I've seen this year, with the laughs trailing off, and half of the supporting characters, the zestier ones, being airbrushed from the frame.

October 5, 2009 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

That a great comic idea does not necessarily make for a great screen comedy is the lesson for first-time writer-director-star Ricky Gervais as he comes unstuck.

October 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Despite the ambitious scope of its premise, this confounding, disappointing and, in the end, depressing movie is content to devote 80 percent of its screen time to wondering who gets to kiss the girl.

October 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Slate
Slate
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Light and disposable entertainment to be sure, but that trademark dry Gervais wit keeps the proceedings engaging enough.

January 26, 2014 Full Review Source: TheMovieReport.com
TheMovieReport.com

As mildly amusing as it can be in places, it still won't convince non-fans that Gervais can play anything other than the fool.

September 29, 2012 Full Review Source: TheShiznit.co.uk
TheShiznit.co.uk

Gervais' satiric barbs on religion, beauty, disillusionment and the basic human need for hope aim for our comfort zones, and they all hit home.

September 29, 2011 Full Review Source: American Profile
American Profile

The premise is clever but the film is not bold enough

June 29, 2011 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com | Comments (2)
EmanuelLevy.Com

The comedy is definitely there, but a heavy romantic focus drags it down in parts.

October 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Moviedex

While there is nothing wrong with a comedy engaging in religious satire, neither Gervais nor Robinson seems willing to take on the topic thoughtfully.

October 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

A high-concept, laugh-free over-indulgence that blows up terribly in the face of its smug star.

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source: sbs.com.au
sbs.com.au

Gervais's attempts at ridiculing faith through satire only ends up becoming an offensive caricature backed with atheistic egotism.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

There's clear comic potential in the film's high concept, and a fair amount of it is realized.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Palo Alto Weekly
Palo Alto Weekly

A wry case for atheism, The Invention of Lying would have sent many Americans into an uproar if anyone had bothered to see it.

May 19, 2010 Full Review Source: LarsenOnFilm | Comment (1)
LarsenOnFilm

Gervais has helped craft a funny but inconsistent film, yet I'd be lying if I didn't mention that I appreciate the ambition and humor put into what could have been a one-note premise.

January 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

...its weakness is its lack of bite. It's too sweet and gentle for its own good.

January 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis | Comments (2)
Movie Metropolis

Mr. Gervais... has given us a static, crass Phil Connors to introduce the world to belief in the supernatural. Where are the Ghostbusters when you need them?

December 6, 2009 Full Review Source: Cinemalogue.com
Cinemalogue.com

Fans of Gervais from the classic TV shows Extras and The Office will enjoy the half-sentences, stop-start comic delivery and awkward pauses that have become his trademark.

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
The Age (Australia)

The fatal flaw of The Invention of Lying is that the film conspires with the hero -- not against him -- in a way that's ideologically driven and humourless.

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source: MovieTime, ABC Radio National | Comment (1)
MovieTime, ABC Radio National

A high-concept comedy with a low yield of laughs, The Invention of Lying fights a losing battle with what was never a winning idea for a movie.

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

Ricky Gervais' new film isn't as out-and-out funny as you might have hoped, but it's still got some funny moments.

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Courier Mail (Australia)
Courier Mail (Australia)

Light, touching and entertaining, this comedy turns syrupy towards the end but is nonetheless sweetly affecting.

November 24, 2009 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Ricky Gervais is a brave and creative talent and this subversive, ultimately romantic film about the value of white lies certainly has its moments.

November 22, 2009 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

Audience Reviews for The Invention of Lying

In a world where everyone tells the truth (even when unprovoked - a nit at which this and many other reviewers have picked), Mark Bellison discovers that he can lie and uses that superpower for good...for the most part.

The love story arc of Anna figuring out what she wants in a mate is well-paced with a nice moment of her defending the chubby kid who got ice cream smashed in his face by the better-gened kids. Mark's weepy moment of describing a Kindergartener's conception of Heaven to his frightened, dying mother is lovely, but the rest of his Christian scripture is a bit slapstick, and I was disappointed that the movie didn't make more of a comment on spiritual solace, the truth and lies of religion, and Truth's partner: Consequences.

Ricky Gervais does his cheeky hosting bit in the proselytizing scenes, but he actually gets rather endearing and emotional throughout the movie. I do love seeing PSH in oafish comedic roles, and I'm digging Louis C.K.'s Above Average Schmo schtick more and more. Jennifer Garner is also requisitely frosty and vapid, then tender and sweet.

I especially dig Anna's deleted scene monologue of her appeal, which says so much about real-life Millennial women, female romantic leads in movies, and Anna's own character who just comes off as flatly bitchy at first: "In fact, there are very few things in life I care that much about. The only things I have to offer myself, or anyone else are my good looks and my affected sense of quirkiness which artistically inclined men interpret as intellect. I think my best trait is the fact that I've made very few mistakes. Socially, academically, financially, romantically. I take very few risks and therefore lead a relatively happy, light-hearted existence. Mostly though, I am a kind, sweet person with the potential of genuinely becoming a vital and interesting human being the day I take the energy I expend on hyper-self-reflexivity and apply it to actual action in the reality of my life."
December 30, 2013
aliceinpunderland

Super Reviewer

Amusing if not exceptional comedy, Gervais has yet to make a movie that is anywhere near as enjoyable or original as one of his many TV shows.
January 13, 2013
stuartb1234

Super Reviewer

Oh dear this looked ok from the trailer. Thought it would be a mix of Liar, Liar with Bruce Almighty. Unfortunately n where near as funny as those two. In fact for a comedy apart from the main plot running through the film, it tries to be a bit too serious for a comedy. As a result not that much to laugh at here. I expected a lot better and was let down.
September 13, 2012
Deano78

Super Reviewer

The Invention of Lying is a terrific comedy directed by the great Ricky Gervais. This is a smartly crafted film with great acting and it has a wonderful script and story. If you want a fun little comedy, this is the film to watch. Ricky Gervais is always a pleasure to watch, and in The Invention of Lying, he gives a great performance. I very much loved the film, the cast was well chosen, and each brought something great to the screen. This was a refreshing comedy, compared to others who rely on vulgar, crude content, which is ok, but gets tiresome after awhile. This film relied more on traditional comedy elements to make you laugh, and most certainly did that. The film has plenty of charm, and Ricky Gervais definitely knows what can make you laugh. He is one of the best comedic actors out there, and if you're tired of the same old Adam Sandler garbage, check out Gervais' work. The humor is good, and it was lots of fun from start to finish. The film was slow at times, but what kept me interested was the cast that gave good performances. This is a fine comedy, and there should be more comedies like this that should be made. Gervais is a great comedian and he should make more films. His humor is actually funny. I just wish studios would give him more opportunities to make films because he is very funny. Unlike so many other "comedians", Gervais is always fun to watch on-screen. The Invention of Lying boasts a great, funny performance by Ricky Gervais, an engaging story and a great plot, and that's something lacking from many of today's comedies. If you're tired of unfunny comedies that try too hard at being funny by introducing crude content to try and make you laugh, give The Invention of Lying a view, this is a very funny and well done film.
June 24, 2012
TheDudeLebowski65
Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

    1. Mark Bellison: The world is going to end unless we have sex right now.
    – Submitted by xniquet L (2 years ago)
    1. Greg: If I could do anything? Anything at all? I would touch a girl's boobs.
    – Submitted by xniquet L (2 years ago)
    1. Bob: Hi, I'm Bob I'm the spokesperson for the Coca-Cola company. I'm here today to ask you to continue buying coke. Sure it's a drink you've been drinking for years, and if you still enjoy it, I'd like to remind you to buy it again sometime soon. It's basically just brown sugar water, we haven't changed the ingredients much lately, so there's nothing new I can tell you about that. We changed the can around a little bit though. See, the colors here are different there, and we added a polar bear so the kids like us. Coke is very high in sugar and like any high calorie soda it can lead to obesity in children and adults who don't sustain a very healthy diet. So that's it, it's coke. It's very famous, everyone knows it. I'm Bob, I work for coke, and I'm asking you to not stop buying coke. That's all.It's a bit sweet. Thank you. Share this quote
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
    1. Brad Kessler: We both know that one day you're going to lose your looks.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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