The Invention of Lying (2009) - Digital Copy Special Edition [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Comedy / Romance|
|Warner Brothers || PG13 - 99 minutes - $35.99 || January 19, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2010-01-10|
Writer(s): Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson (written by)
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jon Hill, Louis C.K. Rob Lowe, Tina Fey
Theatrical Release Date: October 2, 2009
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Ricky Gervais, creator of the British “The Office” – which in turn produced the hilarious American version – continues his minor assault into cinemas. Following a supporting role in 2008’s Ghost Town, he takes front and center stage in this clever philosophical comedy which unfortunately kind of runs out of steam...
The Invention of Lying stars Gervais as Mark Bellison, a “loser” who doesn’t have a love life, stinks at his job as a historical documentary-esque writer and is about to get fired. Sounds like the same old song for many people in this world, but this is a place where everybody tells the truth displacing any societal niceties and will speak whatever is on their mind. As an example, Mark is on a date with Anna (JENNIFER GARNER), a beautiful woman clearly out of his league, something Mark, Anna and even their waiter takes note of.
So, with no prospects and only $300 left in his bank account and $800 rent due, he goes to the bank to withdraw the rest of his savings and when the cashier says their system is down and asks how much he had in his account and what he wanted to withdraw, Mark Bellison becomes the first person ever to tell a lie. Telling her he actually as $800 in the account, he pays off his rent and the wheels starts turning and his life – and the lives of people all around the world – begins to change.
While Mark’s mother is in her deathbed, he decides that to comfort her as she passes, he tells her she’s going to a place where she will have her own mansion and explains how wonderful it all will be. Well, obviously doctors around them want to know more about this place and then things just tumble downhill as he comes up with a ten commandments and you know the rest... well, sort of.
The Invention of Lying is certainly an interesting concept with some clever writing and nice moments throughout, but I was a tad disappointed as the laughs kind of die off as the film wore on. There’s also, from a theological viewpoint, a controversial plot point with the religious angle which, as a non-practicing Lutheran, I didn’t find offensive. The only thing I did find offensive is the fact this comedy didn’t pack much of a punch when it was all said and done.
I like Gervais although I outside of Ghost Town and an episode or two of “Extras”, I haven’t seen him that much. And I think with a better screenplay or a few rewrites, Gervais would’ve made for a fun and different theatrical comedic actor in a time when veterans like Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler are mere shells of what they once were and replaced by a new coming class filled with Seth Rogen (I like him, but he tends to be one-note), Michael Cera (again, one-note) and other Judd Apatow-ites.
Lying has a decent supporting cast from Jennifer Garner fulfilling the love interest part while Jonah Hill and Louis C.K. get the thankless job of playing Mark’s best friends. In fact, Hill really hasn’t a whole lot to do here... Then you’ve got Rob Lowe having a good time playing Mark’s nemesis, a 110% douchbag and dirtbag; that typical romantic-comedy role where it’s obvious that he’s the wrong guy for the protagonist’s main squeeze and then also know where she’ll wind up in the end despite all the odds.
In the end, The Invention of Lying did make me chuckle a few times and the premise itself is at least unique and different from what we’ve seen come out of mainstream Hollywood in the past few years. Unfortunately that premise doesn’t translate to comedic gold to endure the 99-minute running time.
While there are a few features on the Blu-ray, they don’t amount to a whole lot. Like other Warner Blu-rays, it comes with a standard slip cover made so it can be re-released later minus the digital copy.
Prequel: The Dawn of Lying (6:30) shows the origins of where lying came from. Really, really dumb and would’ve been awful if they had incorporated it into the film.
Meet Karl Pilkington (17:48) is oddly the longest feature on the BD and although it’s kind of fun showing Pilkington taking on a role as basically an extra for the prequel film, it’s nothing that great. It’s primarily a spoof featurette showing Pilkington’s frustration of a lack of role he has after flying 7 hours to film it.
A Truly “Honest” Making-of Featurette with Ricky Gervais (7:17; HD) is a behind-the-scenes look with Gervais and the supporting cast plus the crew messing around and just general madness on the set.
Additional Scenes (7:12) is a set of five throwaway scenes.
Ricky and Matt’s Video Podcasts (9:59) I suppose were originally produced for the film’s official site where the writers and directors give a glimpse as they film the movie.
More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes (5:33) are your standard flubbed lines and general glee of Gervais as he breaks out. By the way, the term corpsing is when an actor breaks into laughter during what is supposed to be a serious scene.
Last is the a digital copy compatible with WMV and iTunes. Not positive, but this might be the only ** Blu-ray Exclusive **.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
The Invention of Lying is presented with a 1.78 aspect ratio (per Warner’s MO, the original theatrical presentation was a 1.85 AR which the studio just opens up the matting) and in 1080p high definition. In any case, the picture has a fair bit of noise throughout and isn’t terribly well details as faces and other objects look a tad soft at times. Colors on the other hand are well balanced so it’s still a good transfer, just nothing amazing.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is effective but as you would expect from a comedy, it’s pretty dialogue-heavy with the occasional classic song thrown in to give it a more well rounded track making use of each channel; even the sub-woofer clicked on once in a while. Going in, I don’t expect much but this happened to exceed them, if only slightly.
The Invention of Lying has a few funny moments but the premise, as brilliant as it might be, kind of runs dry early on. The Blu-ray was good in both the video and audio transfers while the features were lacking in terms of quality.