The Invention of Lying Reviews

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Laremy Legel
Film.com
May 6, 2011
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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November 22, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: C-
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A.O. Scott
At the Movies
October 5, 2009
It's bogged down in too many squishy romantic-comedy pieties.
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
October 5, 2009
I think the first half hour would be almost impossible to sustain because it is so inspired.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
October 5, 2009
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.
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Trevor Johnston
Time Out
October 4, 2009
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.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 2, 2009
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.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 2, 2009
The romantic plot, involving his unrequited loved for Garner, is soured by her character's unconcealed shallowness.
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Tom Charity
CNN.com
October 2, 2009
The movie never surpasses the gleeful hilarity of the first 25 minutes, when it allows us to imagine just how crushing and soulless this nakedly Darwinian universe would be.
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Joe Neumaier
New York Daily News
October 2, 2009
The movie is smart and silly.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
October 2, 2009
[It] does have its moments -- most of them courtesy of Gervais and his very specific brand of self-deprecating, always equivocating comedy -- just not nearly enough of them.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/5
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Liam Lacey
Globe and Mail
October 2, 2009
The result is an erratically funny but often frustrating comedy, with an interesting premise hobbled by internal inconsistencies and uneven writing.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Kathleen Murphy
MSN Movies
October 2, 2009
There's no doubting that this is one comic who can really act. But maybe Gervais should leave the directing to someone who knows how to tell funny stories on film, if such a talent can be found these days.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/5
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
October 2, 2009
It would be such a joy to bend the truth and say that The Invention of Lying lives up to the potential of its inspired premise.
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
October 2, 2009
The small-town Massachusetts settings are certainly fresh, and some of the involuntary confessions are fun. But, all in all, itā(TM)s not a great comedy. And thatā(TM)s no lie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 2, 2009
By adhering to the romantic-comedy formula, The Invention of Lying stops short of being truly inventive. But enough sequences are fresh and inspired to make this a comedy honestly worth catching.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
October 2, 2009
Mr. Gervais's long-established gift for small-screen comedy goes terribly slack, leaving him likable, as always, but, on the big screen, looking lost.
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Linda Barnard
Toronto Star
October 2, 2009
To tell the truth, The Invention of Lying is a funny movie that fails to deliver on its first-half potential.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
October 2, 2009
There's no hope that Gervais' performance in The Invention of Lying will open up new hope for a different kind of leading man -- and that's what makes his resoluteness so great.
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
October 2, 2009
Marketed as a romantic comedy, The Invention of Lying turns out to be a dour, shouty atheist manifesto.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 2, 2009
It's no fun watching Gervais work out a tired fantasy of turning hot babes into chubby chasers. We want Gervais in all his merry, malicious glory. That's no lie.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 2, 2009
The Invention of Lying, in addition to being very funny and inventive, is an attempt at a genuine statement about life, social discourse and morality.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Rafer Guzman
Newsday
October 2, 2009
Ultimately, the small-scale, often downbeat jokes in Lying never quite match the grand concept.
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
October 2, 2009
A mostly funny if melancholic defense of deceit.
| Original Score: 3.5/5
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
October 1, 2009
[A] droll, witty and thoughtful comedy about the thing that really makes the world go round.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 1, 2009
Sublimely funny, slyly satirical and deliberately designed to upset Aunt Prissy, The Invention of Lying weaves quite a wicked web.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
October 1, 2009
Someday, Gervais will make a screen comedy both brilliant and consistent; in the meantime, The Invention of Lying will pass the time.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 1, 2009
With The Invention of Lying, the British comic actor Ricky Gervais has come up with a wickedly funny idea for a movie -- and then purged the wickedness right out of it.-
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
October 1, 2009
Lying remains sweetly pleasant but threatens to become as bland as the world in which it's set, and previously took such pleasure in exploring.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald
October 1, 2009
It also runs out of steam abruptly, as if there were nowhere else to go, but Gervais' wickedly sly concept lingers quite awhile after the final chuckle. And that's the truth.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 1, 2009
Gervais, who co-directed and co-wrote with Matthew Robinson, walks a delicate tightrope above hazardous chasms.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Justin Chang
Variety
September 30, 2009
While it never tops the explosive hilarity of its first 20 minutes, The Invention of Lying is a smartly written, nicely layered comedy.
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Michael Rechtshaffen
Hollywood Reporter
September 30, 2009
One of the fall's funniest films -- honest.
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
September 30, 2009
The Invention of Lying is an ambitious attempt to smash the wedding cake and eat it, too; but to say it succeeds would be stretching the truth.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
September 30, 2009
The Invention of Lying feels a little too much like a wasted opportunity.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
September 30, 2009
The truth? Ricky Gervais' jolting philosophical comedy The Invention of Lying is seriously subversive. What other rom-com would spend so much time making a convincing case that belief in an afterlife is a harmless load of bollocks?
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
September 30, 2009
Lying is good, but it could have been great. And that's no lie.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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David Fear
Time Out
September 30, 2009
Once the sharp, clever satire gives way to what feels like a special must-see-TV episode, the movie's promise slowly deflates. Does that seem unduly mean? Sometimes the truth hurts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Nick Pinkerton
Village Voice
September 29, 2009
Lying brushes more big ideas than commonplace comedies, but hasn't taken those ideas through enough drafts to work out their implications or -- harder still -- make them killingly funny.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
September 21, 2009
The movie is something rare, a boisterous American comedy with the power to trigger philosophical disputes -- even, if taken really seriously, fisticuffs. One can hope!