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
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- 6 tiny scientific mistakes that created huge disasters
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- 10 things you need to know today: November 22, 2014
Subscribe to the Week