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April 28, 2010
The Invention of Lying Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
26/11/200930/3/2010UniversalRicky Gervais
Matthew Robinson
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
VC-1DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MRicky Gervais

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Ricky Gervais wrote, directed and stars in The Invention of Lying.

Ricky Gervais is quite the household name, particularly in Europe where he starred in TV shows such as The Office and Extras, but has never really made it to box office success. The Invention of Lying is his latest starring vehicle and while it only took $US32 million around the globe, it is another notch on his belt to impress the masses.

The Invention of Lying takes place in an alternate reality in which lying, and even the concept of a lie, does not exist. Everyone from politicians to advertisers to the man and woman on the street speak the truth and nothing but the truth with no thought of the consequences. But when a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark Bellison (Gervais) suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards. In a world where every word is assumed to be the absolute truth, Mark easily lies his way to fame and fortune. But lies have a way of spreading, and Mark begins to realize that things are getting a little out of control when some of his tallest tales are being taken as, well, gospel. With the entire world now hanging on his every word, there is only one thing Mark has not been able to lie his way into: the heart of the woman he loves.

The Invention Of Lying was written, directed and stars Ricky Gervais. To be honest I'm not a massive fan of him as an actor, I find his humour quite dry, however he's not someone I dislike either and he puts in a pretty good performance as the lead in this movie. The supporting cast, including Jennifer Garner and Jonah Hill, are both entertaining to watch too.

Admittedly this movies script is solid, but never great. Having said that there are some amusing scenes. It's pretty entertaining when Mark realises that he can benefit in life when he 'learns' how to tell a lie. It starts small but soon grows to something completely out of control to a point where he gives a sermon, with two large tablet-like items, before telling a story about the ninja war during the black plague is absolutely hilarious. It doesn't make much sense if you're just reading this review, but it's a classic moment in the film.

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No lies... Check out he motel sign.
There are a couple of things that didn't really sit to well with me. The first was the fact that beyond people not being able to lie, they also seem to blurt out whatever they are thinking - even if it should only be a thought in their head. Also, the ending of the film felt a little rushed, and convenient for the sake of the "happy Hollywood ending".

The Invention of Lying has a unique premise, is put together pretty well, and has some great moments. Is it for everyone? Probably not as it's a little left field at times, but I found it to be fairly entertaining. It's just not much more then 'above average' overall though.

The Invention of Lying is encoded on Blu-Ray at the films original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 using the VC-1 codec. According to our PS3 the bitrate sits above 30Mbps for the most part, and occasionally over 40Mbps, which is evidence of the image having plenty of room to breathe. Indeed the film is free from compression artifacts while we didn't notice any film artifacts either which points to the film being converted directly from a digital source.

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Ricky Gervais and Jennifer Garner dine out.
As with many of Universal's Blu-Ray's the picture looks good, retains a film-like quality, but doesn't have the visual flare and flash as some big budget Hollywood productions. The colours have a natural look to them - particularly the flesh tones - while the contrast levels remain consistent. We did notice a couple of scenes that appeared a little softer - some close-ups of Ricky Gervaise in the final scenes of the movie (to provide details would be a spoiler) seemed a little soft. This probably won't be used as a reference quality disc, however it's not a terrible looking release by any stretch of the imagination.

As a dialogue driven movie we didn't expect this to hit all the right notes, but it does with crystal clear dialogue, some great music - we loved "Mr Blue Sky" by Electric Light Orchestra after Mark had given his sermon and "Give A Little Bit" by Supertramp at the end of the movie. It sounds wonderful. This Blu-Ray disc includes a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (24-bit/48Khz) track which drives this impressive audio experience.

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Will Mark (Gervais) lie to get Anna (Garner)?
There are no other audio tracks on this disc, and only a single English for the Hearing Impaired Subtitle track which seemed accurate to the dialogue and audio effects in the movie.

There are a few extras on this Blu-Ray so let's get to them then...

Prequel: The Dawn of Lying (6:31): This is a rather entertaining extra where we go back to prehistoric times to see the first lie by an incompetent caveman. Many of the principal cast from the film have returned for this short film. It's pretty funny, but sadly is only in standard definition with 2 channel audio.

Meet Karl Pilkington (17:49): The Co-host on The Ricky Gervais Show this documentary looks at his travels to Boston in order to play a small role in the film. Occasionally amusing it's not a big extra in terms of link to the movie, but somewhat interesting nonetheless.

Ricky and Matt's video podcasts (9:58): Four video podcasts made during the filming are moderately entertaining and provide a little insight into the filming.

A Truly "Honest" Making Of Featurette with Ricky Gervais (7:17/HD): The first featurette in HD is a bit of an EPK styled look at the making of the movie with plenty of short "praise" clips from other actors in the movie.

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Pondering life around the bar.
More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes (5:34): Mucking around on set with a series of bloopers, outtakes and misadventures. Meh, seen it all before.

Additional Scenes (7:12): Five additional scenes ("On The Way To The Restaurant", "Mark and Greg at Bar", "Post Casino", "The Readers: Invention of the Fork", "The Readers: Mathematics") are presented here, again in shitty looking SD quality. Fortunately the scenes are generally fairly entertaining.

The Invention of Lying isn't a bad movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it's not a great one either. It is what it is, but fans of Ricky Gervais will probably lap this up. Recommended as a rental and probably a purchase if you're a fan of the movie.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyrightę Universal. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.