Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Invention of Lying

Directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson.
2009. Rated PG-13, 99 minutes.
Ricky Gervais
Jennifer Garner
Jonah Hill
Rob Lowe
Louis C.K.
Jeffrey Tambor
Fionulla Flanagan
Tina Fey

Edward Norton

Plot: In a world where man has never developed the ability to lie, Mark Bellison (Gervais) suddenly does.

The Good: The first two acts of the movie are incredibly original. In addition to being brutally honest, every person is also way too forthcoming with unsolicited information. The result is deliciously over the top dialogue during some hilarious exchanges. It also has fun pointing out the mixed messages of religion. Through this, which is essentially the invention of theism (or atheism?) and the aforementioned exchanges, the writing is top notch. There are also two very strong cameos. Jonah Hill’s turn as Mark’s suicidal neighbor is morbidly funny. As Mark’s secretary, Tina Fey absolutely steals every scene she’s in.

The Bad: The third act is dreadfully predictable. It eschews everything that made the earlier parts of the movie such a joy, in favor of recycling the same crap we’ve seen in countless other romantic comedies. We switch from watching a sharp, innovative comedy to a run-of-the-mill chick-flick. Let me tell you: it’s quite the letdown to go from one to the other.

The Ugly: Moses’ tablets are replaced by pizza boxes.

Recommendation: Again, the first two-thirds of the movie are more than enough to make this worth a look. It’s sort of a flip side to Liar Liar and works terrifically. Who knows? You might even like the last twenty or thirty minutes more than I did.

The Opposite View: Kyle Smith, New York Post

What the Internet Says: 6.5/10 on (5/20/10), 57% on, 58/100 on

MY SCORE: 7/10

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