Day 39: The Invention of Lying (2009)

I would be lying if I said I like this film. Get it? The film is called The Invention of Lying and I used that same word in the first sentence of my review. Eh? Eh? No? If you like that type of a joke (plus countless jokes about various body functions), then you would probably enjoy this film. While I am usually all about random poop jokes, this film was just not my cup of tea (it stars Ricky Gervais, you see, and he is from England. In England they have tea… oh, never mind).


The Invention of Lying had potential. The premise of the story was actually quite interesting. Imagine a world where everyone tells the truth—in fact, lies haven’t even been invented yet, nor can people understand what they are. World Truth existed (in some parallel universe to the Earth– or Lying Liarworld IV as I will now dub it) for millions of years without the existence of a lie and things were adequate. That is, until Mark (Ricky Gervais) discovers how to lie. Mark’s ability to deceive (and the rest of the world’s ability to mindlessly believe all he says) gains him fame and fortune—but what he really wants is Anna (Jennifer Garner), though he is too decent of a person (um sure?) to lie his way into her heart/bed. Here is where I should say hilarity ensues, but I can’t quite bring myself to fib (ironic).


I really found this film to be very hit and miss. Perhaps I had built this film up too much before I saw it– great concept, funny actor playing the lead, and an all-star cast. However, it just failed to make use of all the resources at its 35mm fingertips. The writing was iffy. At times, it was witty and I appreciated the attempt at being deep and thought provoking. Just as I started to like the movie (and this happened several times throughout the 99 minutes), the film would blow it. For example, just because in the Truth World people don’t lie, I have a hard time believing that all people have the inability to censor what they are saying. Who randomly walks up to a stranger and tells them they hate their job? Or tells a coworker they are fat and stupid with no provocation? And those are two of the more mundane examples that I could think of. It is this weird stream of consciousness babble that ruins the film. I admit that a few funny lines come from this mindless jabber, but it doesn’t usually fit into the story. Boo. I also found much of the cast under-used. While I realize most of the star power was in cameo form, it just seemed like kind of a waste. Boo, indeed. On the plus side, Jennifer Garner looked phenomenal and wears cool clothes. I’m just being honest.


I know, I know, I am probably a sour person since I didn’t find this funny, but it seemed kind of Liar, Liar to me. While I appreciated the larger implications the writers were trying to make with the film, I just wish it would have gone through another round of revisions before they shot it. I think this flick sucked the funny from me (get it, sucked—because I wasn’t a fan of it…). Sigh.


So, from Lying Liarworld IV, that is it for the day.


Score: C-

Netflix Queue: 470

8 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Rach

    Sounds like you missed the point. No wonder you didnt enjoy it! You should watch it with fun people, instead of at home with the cats! 🙂

    September 22nd, 2010

  2. meg

    I am pretty sure I understood the point of the film. In fact, I actually love the concept– I just wish it had been fine tuned a bit. So I scored it as slightly below average.
    I totally agree that atmosphere and audience contribute a lot to the film. However, my cats are upset that you don’t consider them an ideal audience. Keep in mind that during films they don’t talk on cell phones, won’t keep asking for explanations to what they see on screen, and won’t steal your popcorn (well, except maybe Chuck). 😉

    September 22nd, 2010

  3. sean

    i just watched this film too and had about the same reaction; interesting concept that produces a couple of chuckles here or there but the comedy does not sustain itself over the course of the movie. seems like it would work better as a stand up bit than a movie. And though i’ve tried, i just can’t drink the ricky gervais kool aid (gervais-aid?), i know he’s supposed to be a working class comedy savant but nothing i’ve watched from him has consistently made me laugh (this is one of the reasons, in addition to not looking good in skinny jeans, why i can never be an authentic hipster). i…..and by the way, how you doing megan?

    September 22nd, 2010

  4. meg

    I agree that this would have worked well as a short or a stand-up bit.
    Is there a list of requirements to be a hipster? Or do you have to be hip just to even see the list? 😉

    I am doing well. How are you? Are you back in CA?

    September 22nd, 2010

  5. fenderbirds

    nice article, keep the posts coming

    October 18th, 2010

  6. meg

    Thanks! 🙂 I will keep writing these posts until my Netflix queue is manageable…. which will probably be a while.
    Have a wonderful day! 🙂

    October 18th, 2010

  7. Hey, I can’t view your site properly within Opera, I actually hope you look into fixing this.

    October 26th, 2010

  8. meg

    I am sorry to hear that. I will see what I can do to fix this issue. Sorry, and thanks for your patience:)

    October 27th, 2010

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