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6 Degrees Entertainment

'The Invention of Lying'
(Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2010 / Warner Home Video)

Overview: The Invention of Lying imagines a world in which everyone unfailingly tells the truth; they don't even know what fiction is. Every thought, however humiliating or harsh, tumbles out unvarnished. Then one day, a desperate unemployed writer named Mark (Gervais) concocts a lie--and in a world where everyone is unfailingly honest, a lie is believed with total and absolute gullibility!

DVD Verdict: 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.

One of the funniest scene in the movie is when Bellison is forced to invent religion on the spot, including commandments written on pizza boxes. However, the film falls (somewhat) flat after this scene, because Gervais - rather than playing his bold heresy for all it's worth - retreats to the insipid love triangle between Bellison, the lovely Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) and the loathsome Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe).

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. [DW] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) and comes with the Special Features of:

Prequel: The Dawn of Lying: Documenting a monumental occasion in history
A Truly "Honest" Making-of Featurette: cast members share their admiration for a comedic genius
Meet Karl Pilkington: Ricky's best buddy and cohost of The Ricky Gervais Show chronicles his travels to the U.S.
Ricky and Matt's video podcasts: over 10 minutes of insider coverage
Additional Scenes
More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes