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Ricky Gervais: 'The Invention of Lying'

Is the Office creator's new comedy 'seriously subversive'?

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.

Also opening this week: A Serious Man, Zombieland, Whip It

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