The Invention of Lying - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Invention of Lying Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ December 30, 2013
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."
Super Reviewer
½ October 6, 2009
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.
Super Reviewer
April 3, 2010
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.
Super Reviewer
June 24, 2012
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.
Super Reviewer
½ January 7, 2012
A really clever well written film.
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
December 20, 2011
It might not be a film that does what it says on the packet and it's premise is essentially a one trick pony. But Ricky Gervais' accidental romantic comedy is funny at times but has good intentions and is overall. A warm, light hearted movie.
Super Reviewer
½ July 23, 2011
The high concepts this movie chooses to explore deserves better. The "who gets the girl" plot fails to uphold a truly intriguing premise that barely touched the surface of its own connotations.

Even as a nonsensical comedy it fails to deliver, what with the whole "no lying" humor completely losing it's zing after the first 15 minutes of non-stop insults.

Just an overall disappoint from all stand points.
Super Reviewer
January 17, 2011
A so-so comedy with a quite interesting premise that unfortunately gets placed in the passenger seat in favor of cheap Rom-Com cliches.
Super Reviewer
January 21, 2011
"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."

The Invention of Lying is one of the most original films I've seen for a long time. From the brilliant mind of Ricky Gervais, comes a film set in a world where nobody lies, until a loser (Gervais) invents lying and soon becomes the most coercive and compelling man in the world. After a "little white lie" that he expresses to his mom on her death bed, the whole world is looking up to him, expecting great quality of him, and his ideas.

The casting was very unusual, it starred Ricky Gervais as Mark Bellison, Jennifer Garner as Anna McDoogles, Louis C.K. as Greg, Rob Lowe as Brad Kessler, Jonah Hill as Frank, Jeffrey Tambor as Anthony, Fionnula Flanagan as Martha Bellison, Tina Fey as Shelley, and Christopher Guest as Nathan Goldfrappe. Even though it's a quirky cast, it was well executed.

Normally, I wouldn't discuss the script, but I'm giving myself an exception. The script for this film was one of the funniest I've ever seen. It's not flawless, but it's good enough to keep the audience well entertained. Sure it's incredibly predictable, but who cares?

Obviously, the acting cannot be taken seriously. As for Ricky Gervais, I don't care if he plays the same role in his films, he's downright hilarious! This is one of the most underrated films of all time. It's at least good for a one time watch.
Super Reviewer
October 1, 2010
Ricky Gervais has never been funnier and this smart comedy had me laughing for the full 100 minutes. I severely enjoyed the concept of inventing the first lie, and how funny it can be watching everyone tell the truth while he can say literally whatever he wants and they take it seriously. This is greatly written and wonderfully acted. The Invention of Lying, is simple, yet so very complex. I really liked it!
Super Reviewer
½ February 18, 2011
Written by, directed by, and starring British comedian Ricky Gervais, this film has a simple premise, No one in the world has ever lied, until now.

Gervais' character, Mark Bellison, apparently has a misfiring synapse when he lies for the first time, and it surprises him as much as it would anybody. But once he realizes the import of what he's done, he keeps doing it, trying to use his powers for good, with some hilarious (and some disastrous) results.

I wondered about the premise before seeing the movie. What would the "ban" on lying include? As it turns out, the authors went whole hog. When they say no one's ever lied in this world, they mean *in any way*. No fictional stories, no lies by omission, no intentional deceit, and no religion. Basically the rule on this imaginary world has always been: you can't say anything that *isn't*. No one's ever thought of doing such a thing. So, if two people tell you two different things, then one of them is mistaken.

The story starts of hilariously, with Gervais' and Jennifer Garner's characters meeting for a date. She's hot, and he's dumpy. They waste no time telling each other this, in all honesty, including their doubts and worries about the date. Flattery doesn't exist, because it's a form of lying. Keeping silent to spare someone's feelings is also lying, and so has never been done.

Think of all the things that wouldn't exist if no one had ever said anything that wasn't true... For instance, words like true, untrue, belief, unbelievable, fiction, lying, etc. -- none of those words can exist. There are no churches, no novels. All movies are historical or documentary. All news shows only tell the truth.

When Bellison suddenly realizes he can say things that don't agree with reality, he quickly learns what power that holds, both for good and evil. He can walk into a bank and tell them he has quite a bit of money in his bank account -- they'll assume their computers have made a mistake.

In the course of the story, Bellison learns how to make people feel better about themselves by telling little white lies. He invents fictional movies, and later religion. Religion came naturally, because everyone was scared of the nothingness that comes after death. He assured them that good things would follow death, at least for good people.

Religious people are unlikely to enjoy the movie, since it gets to the heart of why most early religions were started -- to cure that fear of life and fear of the unknown after death (besides the ability to control large groups of people).

To sum up this is a well-thought out and well-executed movie. The funny parts are really funny, and the sad parts are really sad. Worth a look if your in the mood for something different.
Super Reviewer
½ December 8, 2010
It would be an understatement to say that I wasn't expecting much out of this film. I figured I would see half-hearted gags like the one featured on the trailer in which the Gervais character convinces a woman to have sex with him based on her innate gullibility; in the full film, Mark abandons the prospect once they get to the motel named "Motel to have sex with complete strangers." Rather, Gervais and company use the prospect of ultimate gullibility to lampoon religion, superstition, and greed, and they make a rather touching, romantic point about the necessity to be honest in love.
I wondered, though, that the world in which there is no lying has all the trappings and technologies of our own. In our world, everybody lies. Without exception. Everybody lies. And wouldn't a world where something so innate is so radically different be substantively changed? How do you elect honest politicians? Did Kennedy die? Did the government tell the truth about it? I'm probably taking the film's premise farther than the filmmakers want me to take it, but it's an interesting reflection nonetheless.
Overall, the film is well-made, and I had no idea that Gervais was as good a dramatic actor as he is. There are moments when he is true and emotionally effective.
Super Reviewer
½ September 19, 2010
Lying: Def - To present false information with the intention of deceiving.

Is lying bad? Can lying be good? I dont like people who lie to me, most especially about the small teeny weeny things, cuz if you can lie to me about those then what more about the big stuff? This movie makes lying seem to be a good thing IN CERTAIN SITUATIONS, and then it mixes it with a light jab of an aetheists view of religion and my aunties views about partnership and marriage (Genetics, oh you know old people and their views about how things should be..).

Twas quite enjoyable ^_^

Most folks probably hated this cuz it does give out this message that "Oh, its okay to lie." -- Im not gonna go into the whole debate thing. Just watch it if you like the trailer, if not, then dont! :P!
Super Reviewer
½ September 17, 2009
I already heard some reviews about this movie before I watched it, and it wasn't a pretty good reviews... But what I saw for 100 minutes, this movie is pretty funny... Ricky Gervais is a brilliant scriptwriter for creating such an original comedy like this one... Yet, he was really great too for having so many A-class actors that played as a supporting cast and cameo in here... Name it : Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Edward Norton, I just can say WOW...!!! The story itself begins with a really interesting story, even it becomes a little boring in the middle, but the ending made it just okay... Even there's a lot of defect on this movie, but what Ricky Gervais already done in this movie, I should gave him a big thumbs up for creating a hilarious and original comedy like this one...
Super Reviewer
½ August 10, 2010
Enjoying Ricky Gervais' offbeat sense of humor, I really wanted to proove all the critics wrong about this film, however, since I'm incapable of lying, I must say that in spite of some laugh out loud moments the film falls on the sword of its own premise.

Said premise is that there exists a fairy tale world wherein the populace are simply not wired to even consider telling a falsehood (in fact, they don't even have a word for it). However, this shouldn't mean that it is required that everyone needs to blurt out whatever they are feeling at the moment, as if there is no filter between brain and mouth. While this causes some humerous moments, it also brings forth a conumdrum that I found irritating (and helped box the script into a corner that it couldn't really fight its way out of). The film simply could not continue to balance the story thread without fudging on its own premise.

That being said, the story is simple enough - Ricky is a mediocre writer of historical screenplays (another assumption made here is that, since no-one lies, then there is no "creative" writing - all writing must be factual, not fiction). Ricky is set up on a date with Jennifer Garner, who, she and everyone else tells Ricky, is out of his league (casting note here - I don't find Garner at all attractive, and here found her vapid quest for a "genetic equal" not in the least funny or realistic). Anyway, Ricky then loses the girl, and then his job, gets evicted from his apartment - but then... while trying to withdraw his remaining meager funds from the bank, actually manages to lie about his bank balance (once again, the scene lacked contineity, for he first asked not only to withdraw funds but to close his account - after the bank's computers come back on line and Ricky is given more cash than he has in the account, the teller doesn't follow up on his prior request to close the account - I mean, why bother mentioning closing the account in the first place if you're not going to follow through on it scriptwise? This kind of laziness irritates the heck out of me... can't ya tell??).

Anyway, once Ricky realizes he is capable of lying he begins testing the boundaries of his craft, including telling a woman he meets on the street that the world will end if she doesn't have sex with him - her reply, "right here on the street, or do we have time to get a room". Good stuff!

He later writes an improbable screenplay about aliens and all kinds of what not in the 14th Century, which the studio believes as factual - but here is another misstep - The studio believes that the film will be a big hit - because Ricky says so and since no-one lies... but that confuses the line between lieing and your opinion. Just because one person believes something doesn't make it a lie simply because someone else believes differently.

Ricky becomes rich and famous, but doesn't get the girl... until the very end, as she still maintains that he is not proper genetic material for her.

Along the way there are many squandered opportunities and several instances of lazy and sloppy writing, to go along with the severly hampered love story Gervais is trying to tell. Yet there are still laugh out loud moments - mostly from the outrageous signs on buildings - little things just thrown in that have nothing to do with the plot, but remain humerous nonethless (like the name on the wall of the old folkes home - something like "the depressing home for dying old people".

There is also a rather humerous religious angle to the film, which pokes fun at "the guy in the sky" and has a version of the ten "rules" printed on two pizza box tops, which some might find offensive. The scene where Ricky delivers the rules I found reminiscent of Monty Python's Life of Brian where the masses fail to understand the meaning, yet want to believe in something (again, this could have been more weighty except that, once again the script was hemmed in by the premise that everyone automatically believes everything being said, since no-one lies).

I should also mention that for the most part the acting was pretty solid - even Garner, considering what bits of script she had to work with. Especially good in small roles: Rob Lowe as an arrogant prick, who is successful because of his good looks (another theme here - somehow not lying equals reading all books by their covers?????), and the small but funny role of Ricky's secretary, played by Tina Fey. Finally, in case you may have missed it - there's a cameo of a bartender slyly portrayed by Phillip Seymore Hoffman.

In the end I couldn't help feeling that this potentially very funny idea could have recieved a better treatment - a rewrite of the script for starters - I guess since Ricky appears so golden, no-one wants to tell him that the emperor is buck naked.
Super Reviewer
September 30, 2009
In a world where no one ever lies, the world is about to change when someone who is referred to as a loser tells the first lie. Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), is the worst screenwriter at Lecture Films & knows that he is getting fired because everyone tells him he is & his boss, Anthony reluctantly, comes into Tom's office & fires him. The night before this happens Mark has a date with Anna, (Jennifer Garner) which is set up by Anna's mother, who believes that Anna will end up alone. She even tells her own mother that she won't be sleeping with him or kiss him goodnight. When the night is over & Mark takes Anna home, she tells him that she'll probably never see him again, and on the day that Mark gets fired, she sends him an email telling him that this is true. So as you can see Mark is miserable & alone & nothing is going right but one day whenever he is evicted from his apartment because he can't pay the rent. He goes down to the bank to close his account & withdraw whatever amount is in there & he tells the teller $800 when there is only $300, but since no one in town never lies, the teller gives him the $800 believing that the system made a mistake. He starts telling more lies. He writes a screenplay & tells his old boss that he found it in a chest & Anthony invites the whole staff in to hear it. Mark also tells everyone that there is a special place you go when you die & about a man in the sky. His movie that he wrote is successful but there's only one that he doesn't have going for him Anna. Anna who is his best friend who makes him happy. Anna finds that Mark makes her happy to but she doesn't want to be involved romantically with Mark because their children would have snub noses & they would be fat. So even though they both are in love, they can't be together. Instead Anna starts seeing Brad, (Rob Lowe) who is incredibly rude and conceited. They even almost get married because they are a perfect genetic match for each other but Anna then realizes that she loves Mark & she wants to have children with little snub noses who are fat. This is a truly remarkable movie that has Ricky Gervais in what I believe is his best role & Jennifer Garner as well. It's a heartwarming tale of true love for anyone who loves a good romance with a splash of comedy combined, giving you a perfect, romantic and a very comedic marvel of a movie. I suggest you watch this great & wonderful movie!!! :)
Super Reviewer
½ July 28, 2010
Didn't think I would like this film, but I do love Ricky Gervaise, and for me he pulls it off. He plays Jennifer Garner's love interest well, and delivers the funny when needed. This is a sincere look into a real what if scenario.
Super Reviewer
September 27, 2009
I'm not a huge fan of Ricky Gervais but I thought this movie would be funny. It's actually quite serious. He is a screen writer who gets fired. He lives in a world where everyone speaks the truth. He invents a lie to get rich and get the girl. Everyone believes every word he says. Good cast.
Super Reviewer
June 25, 2010
I thought this was really funny. B+
Super Reviewer
½ October 2, 2009
The strengths of The Invention of Lying lie in the abundant cameos (which were mostly great) and the premise of a world without dishonesty. The latter fizzles out once it makes a beeline for religious commentary and this movie just kind of falls into the category of movies that are way off the mark from what the trailer showed. Ricky Gervais is fun and he just kind of does the same thing he always does and i was hoping that Louis C.K. and Tina Fey would've gotten more to work with. Nothing you really need to see but some low expectations for The Invention of Lying should hold off disappointment.
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