The Invention of Lying

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Rating: 2 ½ / 5 stars

By Sally Burgess

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Ricky Gervais. His stand-up is hilarious, and Extras and The Office are works of genius. Unfortunately, The Invention of Lying is neither of these.

Gervais plays Mark, a man who lives in a world where lying and deceit don’t exist. So, everyone says what they really think even if it’s saying something really nasty. And there’s no religion.

Anyway, one day Mark discovers he can lie, and uses this to his advantage to get rich, and in the film’s most moving scenes, to tell his dying mother that there is an afterlife just before she passes away. But some nurses overhear him, and Mark’s life changes forever when the whole world wants to know exactly what happens when they die. The one thing he can’t lie about, however, are his feelings for Anna, played by Jennifer Garner. Will Mark be able to stay true to himself and stop the woman of his dreams from marrying his handsome, smarmy ex-boss Brad? What do you think?

There are some surprising cameos by some pretty big names. Ed Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tina Fey, to name a few. Rob Lowe is very good as the smarmy Brad. There are some amusing moments, albeit brief. I did like the scene where a bus passes by Mark, and the bus has an ad for Pepsi, that says “Pepsi, When There’s No Coke Available.”

This was a real let down for me. I’m not going to worry too much, because to me Ricky Gervais is still a very funny man, and I’m looking forward to his hosting stint at the next Golden Globes. It’s just a shame his talent was wasted on this movie.

Standout performance: Rob Lowe

This movie is now showing at Reading Cinemas in Queenstown. This review has been written and rated by Sally Burgess of Reading Cinemas Queenstown.

The Invention of Lying
Rated: M – recommended for mature audiences
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Rob Lowe
Genre: Comedy
Running time: 99 minutes