The Invention of Lying "is seriously subversive," said Lisa Schwarzbaum in Entertainment Weekly. Co-written by, co-directed by, and starring Office creator Ricky Gervais, this "jolting philosophical comedy" is set in an alternate universe where lying doesn't exist, and centers on a man (Gervais) who discovers the benefits of not telling the truth. "The performances are razor sharp," and "the ideas in this movie are, no kidding, big" (watch the trailer for The Invention of Lying).
Gervais' new movie "is good," said Bill Goodykoontz in The Arizona Republic, "but it could have been great." The first half of The Invention of Lying is "funny and provocative, confronting head-on the kinds of things most comedies deal with in glancing blows, if at all." But it "loses steam in the last act" and goes "soft," as Gervais' character tries to get the girl (Jennifer Garner) and the film struggles toward a happy ending.
The Invention of Lying doesn't live "up to the potential of its inspired premise," said Christy Lemire in the Associated Press. The movie's "high-concept gag wears thin," and Gervais, in his directorial debut, "zig-zags awkwardly between dark humor and heavy melodrama—one character is suicidal and another is on the verge of dying, both of which are played awkwardly for laughs." I'd be lying if I said this movie was worth seeing.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Republicans love this new health care plan. Too bad it's basically a tax cut for the rich.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- In defense of Gwyneth Paltrow
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 17 old proverbs we should use more often
- Don't blame Chuck Hagel: Obama's foreign policy has been a disaster from end to end
- 8 tricks to surviving the holidays without gaining weight or being grouchy
- Adam Sandler's 'Thanksgiving Song': Explaining the 22-year-old tune's pop-culture references
Subscribe to the Week