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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I truly did not think Hollywood could make a movie of this caliber
Wow. I was totally blown away. The last thing I actually expect Hollywood to do nowadays is make a movie that is thought provoking, tackles some truly profound issues about the human condition, and is funny to boot.

Ricky Gervais has won instant respect for me. I bet a friend before coming to Amazon (I rented the Blu-ray on Netflix) that there would be a bunch...
Published on March 30, 2010 by austin_Larry

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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but flawed
If the Amazon reviewing system let me give half stars, I would give this 3.5. 3 feels too low for it, but I just can't bring myself to give out a 4. This movie has a fantastic premise - nobody is capable of lying, which gives for some funny lines and great situations. What brought down the star rating was the ending, which to me, felt very cliched.

One thing I...
Published on April 13, 2010 by M


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65 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I truly did not think Hollywood could make a movie of this caliber, March 30, 2010
Wow. I was totally blown away. The last thing I actually expect Hollywood to do nowadays is make a movie that is thought provoking, tackles some truly profound issues about the human condition, and is funny to boot.

Ricky Gervais has won instant respect for me. I bet a friend before coming to Amazon (I rented the Blu-ray on Netflix) that there would be a bunch of 1 star reviews. And that none of them would actually be about the film per se or its quality but would be religious peoplem who, get offended when someone asks them to think about what they say they believe and why.

Gervais ends up examining 2 aspects of the human condition, lying and religion. What would a world be like where people simply not only did not but could not lie. You get a number of humorous situations from this. It makes you think about the role of 'social lying' in particular. Manners, in a way, for lack of a better word

Now on to religion. I think Gervais hit on 2 issues that are very germaine. One how can an 'all good God' be responsible for the good and the bad. Very hard for anyone to explain although people try with that oldie 'everything happens for a reason'. Also explores an honest reaction to a 'god' well tourting people for eternity.

Of more interest to me though was the potential consequences of becoming focused on an afterlife at the expense of this life. The character played by Jonah Hill represents an all too real condition. People who place less value on their life, this life, because everything will work out in the afterlife or that is the real life. This can create HUGE HARM to individuals, society, and the planet. If people don't treasure every day as it should be, if they don't treasure the earth as their home, if they don't treasure each and every species as their brothers and sisters, they risk missing out on exisistence, they miss out on the universe, they miss out on Life. And they do not, perhaps, treat the Earth, themselves, and each other with the depth and meaning they should. If the Earth to them is a shadow, how can it mean what it should?

This is of course IMO. I am sure many people will disagree. But kudos, HUGE kudos, to Ricky for getting this on film. One of the most meaningful and thought provoking, yet also comedic, films Hollywood has done in years.
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74 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly spectacular--but in an odd sense, November 1, 2009
This review is from: The Invention of Lying (DVD)
This film plays out like a British reality TV show. It just feels a bit off, but bear with it. That is part of its charm. Around 37 minutes into it (if memory serves), "WHAM!", it follows true reality and goes completely off script. That's all I can tell you. But here's why you really need to see this movie:

It's pure genius. The whole of it has a rather laid back feel, and the pacing is more a nice leisurely stroll through the park on a warm Autumn day than a Jason Bourne movie or the latest Transformers (both of which I enjoyed, but have nothing more to do with this review). This film draws you in slowly. For some of you it may seem a bit dry and boring, even pedantic at first--stay with it! This is the evolution of personal existence. This is real life as it happens. We go through our days performing our daily rituals and fulfilling our self-imposed duties and then we see something shiny and we pick it up, and suddenly the world starts to find color. This shiny new thing could be a relationship, or a new hobby, a passion for something we did not believe we could have before--or in this case--lying.

The point of this film is (naturally) to entertain us, but just underneath is a series of layered messages and thoughts to ponder on our own lives and the society we live in. In much the same way foreign films tend to attract a certain demographic, this film, feeling a lot like a film foreign to Americans (in pace and structure) is meant to attract people who want to THINK while they are being entertained, rather than wait for glimpses of Megan Fox in a wet bikini (and who doesn't want to do that?). This is truly a film worth owning, and it is a film worth watching a few times (spaced apart by a few months). It gets under your skin and stays with you--and it will without a doubt upset more than a few knee-jerk religionists, but that is the other half of the fun.

The movie is interesting, enjoyable and slow-paced enough to simultaneously allow the slow-to-catch-on to get the joke, but also allow those a bit faster on the up-take to digest the meaning of the joke while enjoying the film. Not at all a first date movie, but if you want to evaluate the relationship quality of your current romantic prospect, this is a MUST SEE. Much like Blazing Saddles, this movie will instantly tell you whether youa re dating the right person for you.

As always, thanks for reading :-)
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54 of 71 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful!, February 19, 2010
By 
birdthing (Trenton, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Invention of Lying (DVD)
I loved this movie. It's sweet, and funny and really quite brilliant. It is about an imaginary world where no one can lie (and no one has ever been able to lie), and what happens to the very human, but kind-hearted man who first becomes able to. Though his intentions are mostly altruistic (remember, I also said he is very human, so he also does things to benefit himself), he inadvertently causes some big problems in his world. It's all very funny and sweet.

Yes, there are some strong references to the idea that religion is completely made-up, for the purpose of comforting people and calming their fears of death. For someone who can actually *think* about religion, instead of being a knee-jerk reactionary or dogmatic follower, it provides some terrific things to think about.

If your religious faith is so frail that it cannot stand the idea of a fictional story in which someone makes up religion in order to make the world a better place for the people they care about, then I'd have to say that you don't have much in the way of actual faith to begin with.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Funny but flawed, April 13, 2010
By 
M "Delicious Strawberry" (I wait behind the wall, gnawing away at your reality) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Invention of Lying (DVD)
If the Amazon reviewing system let me give half stars, I would give this 3.5. 3 feels too low for it, but I just can't bring myself to give out a 4. This movie has a fantastic premise - nobody is capable of lying, which gives for some funny lines and great situations. What brought down the star rating was the ending, which to me, felt very cliched.

One thing I can say is that it'd be great if the ads had more truth in them. I loved the way ads were presented in the movie, especially the Coke ad and the guy being all like, it's sweet brown water' and what not. The Pepsi bus ad was also funny, and the labels given to places often feel rather more appropriate than the ones we give them.

That there was no religion in this movie before is a simple and efficient truth - no one knows for sure that god is real, and if we could only speak the truth and nothing but, then the BS connected with religion would just disappear. This movie isn't so much a comedy as it's a satire. It might not be for everyone, but I enjoyed it, and if you like this kind of thing, yhen you should too.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and funny, July 30, 2010
"The Invention of Lying" is a thoughtful movie that requires the viewer to pay attention, and to do some thinking, to appreciate many of its jokes and themes. Now, its also got some instant laugh concepts, but the funniest parts are where you have to put some mental gears to work to figure out where it is going.

For example, in a world where no one lies, every film made is a historical documentary ... and fairly boring ones to boot. The writers did a marvelous job of projecting how the absence of lies would fit into many aspects of society, from advertising to product names ... from personal interactions to business decisions. In the process they came up with a marvelously humorous take on where our society constantly misleads people for all sorts of reasons.

When Ricky Gervais' character learns to lie, he is able to get ahead in unfair ways, but even so he does not totally abandon the high ground ... he just sneaks down from it in some appropriate places, and a few inappropriate ones. However, he often abandons what could become the fruits of his lies because achieving his aims in those ways is ultimately unsatisfying to him.

Much criticized has been the relatively short section that deals with religion. When Ricky Gervais' character lovingly tells his dieing mother a story to comfort her in her last moments, he is overheard by nearby doctors and nurses, who want to know more about what he told his mother, which by definition in their world must be the literal truth. I think what people have failed to see is that this section of the movie does not make fun of religion, but it does spoof certain man made beliefs about religion. It does a good job of showing that religion is a solid base upon which to build a set of moral and ethical principles that people can relate to and take seriously. It takes issue with the concept of God as a micro-manager, and it is true that those who see God as a micro-manager run into quite a few problems trying to explain how God can at the same time deliver blessings and large scale tragedies. It is legitimate food for thought, rather than being sacrilegious.

This was a courageous movie to make in a day when block buster action and silly comedy rule. This movie made me laugh, but it also made me think. That is a rare and wonderful combination to find in a film.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific, Intelligent Comedy, January 7, 2010
This review is from: The Invention of Lying (DVD)
Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson co-write and co-direct The Invention of Lying, a film I honestly did not expect to like. I'm familiar with Gervais and have heard great things about him, but somehow his TV shows and movies have eluded me. The Invention of Lying is my introduction to him and it makes for great entertainment.

Gervais plays Mark Bellison, who lives in alternate reality where the human race has not adapted the ability to lie. It's hard to deny this is an interesting idea and the opening scenes of the film are quite funny. Mark works as a screenwriter at a film studio, where films consist of a man on screen reading a script based on an event in history. Writing a story requires a certain amount of lying, after all. On the verge of getting fired and rejected by the girl of his dreams (Jennifer Garner) because he's overweight; Mark sees his life in a downward spiral. On the eve of being evicted from his apartment, Mark tells the world's first lie and with his newfound ability a way to improve his life in every aspect.

The film has an eclectic cast including Jonah Hill (as Mark's suicidal neighbor), Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe (as an esteemed screenwriter), and Tina Fey. Furthermore, there are two very funny cameos by Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as a bartender) and Edward Norton (as a cop).

The entire alternate reality is a marvelous idea and Gervais keeps it from growing old within minutes. The Coke/Pepsi gags, as well as the brutally honest business names are consistently amusing.

Obviously, The Invention of Lying is built on a gimmick. In the hands of lesser writers, this gimmick could have run out of steam very quickly, yet Gervais keeps the wit, social commentary (involving religion), and energy consistent throughout. The Invention of Lying is a strong comedy film that had me laughing very hard, but also had me thinking. If the film didn't descend into predictability towards the end (while still retaining its charm), I would say it's one of my favorite films of 2009. Alas, Gervais has fashioned a comedy that is smart, underrated, and very well-done...Definitely worth your time.

GRADE: B+
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What would you do if everyone believed everything you said?, October 6, 2009
I've enjoyed Ricky Gervais ever since I first saw him in the UK version of The Office. His performance in his next series, Extras, was even better. Now comes The Invention of Lying, the first movie he (co)directed, and it is very entertaining!

Basically what we have here is a movie set in a world where lying never evolved. As a result, lots of things are different (like a Pepsi ad that says, "Pepsi: for when you can't find Coke"). Enter Mark Bellison (Gervais). He's a short little fat man with a stubby nose (as everyone keeps reminding him), and basically a loser. He writes screenplays for Lecture Films, a company that makes movie featuring a man sitting in a chair talking about history. Fiction never evolved, you see.

Mark gets fired from his job and is at a real low point in his life. Stuck having to come up with $800 to pay his rent, he tells a teller in a bank that that's how much he has in his account. She believes him, why not, and gives him the $800 rather than the $300 actually there. Having discovered this new ability, for which he doesn't even have a work, Mark embarks on a series of life-changing events.

Now this could've just been a one-dimensional situation played for easy laughs, and there's a bit of that at first, but then he's at his mother's deathbed, in tears and she tells him she's afraid of dying, of experiencing nothing for eternity (for the record, I'm not. How can one "experience" nothing, after all?). Thinking quickly, Mark tells her all about how there's a big man in the sky who will give her a mansion to live in and a chance to be reunited with all her loved ones. She dies happy, and the hospital staff are amazed at this sudden revelation of an afterlife.

Mark has basically just invented religion.

Gervais is an outspoken atheist, and I think that's clear in this movie, where the theory is that religion can't exist without lying. It's a fascinating concept and one well-explored within the film.

There's parts of the movie that lag a little, and some concepts I would've liked to have seen explored a little more, but overall, this is a great film and one I recommend.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I'd be lying if I said it was perfect, October 5, 2009
By 
terpfan1980 "Barry" (Somewhere near Washington DC, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I've liked Ricky Gervais ever since catching him in the original brit-com version of The Office (The Office - The Complete Collection BBC Edition (First And Second Series Plus Special)) and then later in the biting satire Extras (Extras - The Complete Series (Includes Series Finale)) (a series that was much too short, but then again, if you've seen the finale of it, perhaps not ;-) ). Regardless, knowing that Ricky Gervais was going to star in The Invention of Lying made it a must see film in my book.

With theatrical release on 10/2/2009, I took my daughter and a couple of her friends to see the film The Invention of Lying over the weekend of its release. I knew Ricky Gervais starred in the film, but hadn't realized that he also co-directed and co-wrote the film.

I'm sure that Zombieland probably mopped the floor with Invention of... in box office returns, and must admit that I was tempted to see if my daughter would rather see that instead, but we stuck with our (my mostly, I think) first choice and saw Invention of Lying.

To its credit, Invention of Lying is a PG-13 farce that looks at a world where everyone always tells the truth, with nearly brutal honesty. Rather than telling small lies that might lessen the pain that would be caused by being so honest, everyone always tells the truth, including commercial pitchmen advertising cola beverages (the ads for Coke and Pepsi that are in the film as product placement are very funny).

While the film isn't a laugh a minute comedy, it is funny and it inspires thought and discussion as the newly lying-capable character tells a lie that literally takes the world by storm.

If you aren't intending to see it in theatres, definitely add it to your wishlist and perhaps you'll be pleasantly surprised by it when you do catch it.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reconsidering One's Motivations, February 19, 2010
By 
FLbeachbum (Ormond Beach, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Invention of Lying (DVD)
A fair number of people have stated that they enjoyed the opening moments of "The Invention of Lying"; then thought it went downhill from there. My feelings are quite the opposite, so I thought I'd weigh in with my opinion.

The first twenty minutes or so with its crude and not terribly funny dialogue made me wince, but being a fan of Ricky Gervais I had the patience to let the story unfold at its own pace. As it did so, I was treated to some of the humor and wit that makes Gervais fun. (I also enjoyed the brief cameo featuring his writing partner, Stephen Merchant.) By the time we arrived at Gervais' character Mark explaining "The Man in the Sky" to a crowd of eagerly inquisitive people (with the help of his pizza box "tablets"), I was hooked. Honestly; how could anyone not see the humor in that scene?

For those who insist that Gervais is pushing an "agenda", I can only respond by asking "When did everyone become so paranoid"? Lighten up please; has the world been listening to too much inflammatory right wingnut radio, or WHAT? It seems extreme to flip out just because someone dares to think (refreshingly and thankfully) outside the box...in any case the story suggests that perhaps people ought to consider being "good for goodness' sake" (sorta like Santa Claus), rather than always seeking a "reward". So what is wrong with that idea?
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you think it's anti-religion, you missed the point, June 7, 2010
By 
A. Jenista (Westminster, CO United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Invention of Lying (DVD)
I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. It was entertaining AND thought provoking, which is a rare treat that flies in the face of weak plots and over the top CGI. Great movie, definitely worth watching, and sure to provoke some lengthy conversation after. Unfortunately, as shown by some of these reviews... it requires a bit of intelligence on the part of the viewer.

It's not just an anti-religion movie, it's entertainment, and suggests something very funny - what if we could not lie, and had no faculty to determine if somebody else was lying? Would we have free will? Could we have science? Would we buy Pepsi cola if the best advertisement they could make was that it's the soda you drink when you can't buy a coke?

It has some dangly ends, and doesn't really answer the question about how their world ended up the way it is - with people capable of scientific inquiry, yet unable to tell a truth from a fiction - but you'll laugh so hard it won't matter.

Ez four stars!
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The Invention of Lying
The Invention of Lying by Matthew Robinson (DVD - 2011)
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