Category Archives: ricky gervais

The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying ~ When Ricky Gervais is on, he’s really on. And I think it really helps that he co-wrote and co-directed this. Sadly it just doesn’t come together as well as it should.

The premise of a world where no one lies gets old rather quickly when it’s just two people alone, but blossoms in the voiceover narrative and with other actors in the mix. And that just about covers Gervais’ and Jennifer Garner’s first date. It’s a bizarre mix of Liar Liar and What Women Want that never lives up to its potential. And of course, unlike those two films, this one is somewhat funny.

There are lots of guest stars and intriguing cameos like Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Louie CK, and of course Barry from “Eastenders.” The ads within the movie for Coke and Pepsi are hilarious, as is ‘The Sad Place for Hopeless Old people.’ Sorry, it’s funny because it’s true.

When lying is invented by Gervais’ character halfway through the movie, it’s not as funny as it should be – but rather heartwarming, and I’m not sure that’s what was intended. The humor only lasts for a few moments before turning into one of those “Saturday Night Live” skits that never ends. Much of this film feels that way sadly.

The Invention of Lying has the same trouble that most of Ricky Gervais’ films have – that schizophrenia of trying to be a drama with comedic overtones when it should just be a comedy. Too much philosophy and not enough jokes. Worth watching, but it could have been much better.

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Ghost Town

Ghost Town ~ David Koepp has written some amazing movies, some of my faves like the most recent Shadow flick and the first Spider-Man, but for the most part he leaves me cold. The last Indiana Jones movie and the Tom Cruise War of the Worlds spring immediately to mind. So it’s with trepidation I watched Ghost Town which he wrote and directed.

Alternately I love Ricky Gervais, but only from his standup and especially HBO’s “Extras.” Don’t even ask about “The Office.” I have yet to be able to sit through an entire episode of either series from either side of the Atlantic. Some folks love it, but it continues to elude me.

Ricky however, completely carries this film. Without him and his caustic personality this would be a painful and unfunny Lifetime reject of a telemovie. This comedic play on the concept from The Sixth Sense wears pretty thin without him to hold it together. I’ve never seen Greg Kinnear more annoying, and Tea Leoni’s talents are wasted in her role.

To me, there’s no secret why this heartless comedy that tries too hard and is a tad bit predictable bombed at the box office. Worth a look only for Ricky Gervais fans.

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