Invention of Lying, The (2009) 
Blu-ray Romantic Comedy
Written by Noah Fleming   
Wednesday, 20 January 2010

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Ricky Gervais is one of the greats among our time.  However, unlike "Ghost Town," "The Invention of Lying" is not as good as it could have been.  Both critics and viewers have expressed their reservations for this film, and mainly I have to agree.

"The Invention of Lying" should really have been entitled, "The Invention of Storytelling."  There is a fine line between the two, but this film falls on the side of stories.  The film takes place in a world in which the notion and the ability of lying is unknown.

Everyone's life is miserable because they only speak what is on their minds.  Just because lying doesn't exist doesn't mean that everyone must say what is on their mind.  Lying can only exist if you are asked a question.

Ricky Gervais is a screenwriter, and I use that term loosely.  In this world, screenwriters are assigned a past century on which the writers are supposed to create stories based on real events.  The scripts are then read to the camera, and that is considered a movie.  Gervais' character is fired because the 12th century is considered dull.

When he can't make his rent he goes to the bank to close out his account.  It is here that Gervais gets the idea to lie about how much money is in his account.  The teller takes his word for it and just hands him the money he asked for.  Gervais starts to realize what is going on and tries to test his theory further.

Gervais is really after Jennifer Garner's character.  Garner plays a rigid and vain woman that is looking for a partner that has genetic promise.  Unfortunately for Gervais, he is a little fat man with a snubby nose.  Gervais is reluctant to use his new invention of lying to win over Garner.  However, when Gervais' mother is dying he uses his invention to tell his mother what happens after she dies to ease her pain.

His story spreads and eventually attracts attention from everyone around the world.  He then creates the ten things that he "knows" about what happens after you die.  He shares these commandments with the world.  His popularity rises as he creates the "man in the sky."  To perpetuate himself into super stardom, Gervais writes a story about alien invasions and whatnot.  He is rehired and starts writing scripts that everyone believes is based on real events.  Like I said, this is more like storytelling.

After all his success and becoming best friends with Garner, he still can't get Garner to stop thinking about a genetic partnership.  He feels that his life is empty, especially since Garner is about to marry his archrival.

As with all romantic comedies, everything works out in the end.  There is some entertainment to this film, but it certainly is not a repeat watcher film.

The VC-1 encode of this Blu-ray is somehow attractive despite its blandness.  The colors are vibrant and the fleshtones are natural.  However, the contrast level is dull, leaving the image flat, with no hint of dimensionality.  The black levels are consistent and shadow delineation is revealing.  Details and textures are not strong by any means.  Edge enhancement protrudes throughout.  Artifacting and source problems are not an issue.  Unfortunately, the initial photography is boring and uninspiring.  Typical movie watchers will be satisfied with the image, but more avid movie fans may find the digital issues of the transfer distracting.

As to be expected, the audio track is as dull as can be for a romantic comedy.  The mix is entirely front heavy.  In fact, if anything appears in the surround channels, it quickly dissipates and is forgotten.  The LFE channel is absent for 98 percent of the film.  The dialogue is intelligible and only occasionally becomes too bright.  The frequency response of the audio track is limited as is the dynamic range.  Ambience is lacking.  The track is fine for the original source material, but it will be forgotten the moment that the film is over.

The Blu-ray does not contain anything interesting in the way of supplemental features.  "Prequel: The Dawn of Lying" is a dull short.  "A Truly 'Honest' Making-Of" is a discussion Gervais.  "Meet Karl Pilkington" is enigmatic.  "Ricky and Matt's Video Podcasts" are just as puzzle as the former.  Lastly, there are some deleted scenes and outtakes.  A Digital Copy is also included.

"The Invention of Lying" might be a good date movie, but it is isn't much beyond that.  The video and audio qualities are far from memorable.  I only recommend this film for fans of Gervais.
Studio Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
MPAA Rating PG-13
Starring Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor
Director Matthew Robinson
Film Release Year 2009
Release Year 2010
Resolution(s) 1080p (main feature) • 480i (supplements)
Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
Running Time 1 hr. 39 mins.
Sound Formats English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 • French Dolby Digital 5.1 • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles English SDH • French • Spanish
Special Features "Prequel: The Dawn of Lying"; "A Truly 'Honest' Making Of"; "Meet Karl Pilkington"; "Ricky and Matt's Video Podcasts"; Deleted Scenes; Outtakes; Digital Copy
Forum Link
Reviewer Noah Fleming

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