Ricky Gervais Could Be Better at Lying


This installment of Movieline's Two-Minute Verdict has a look at the trailer for The Invention of Lying, Ricky Gervais's forthcoming comedy about one man who discovers the secret to survival in a world where truth runs roughshod over love, careers and other fragile relationships: The lie. Which obviously looked all right on paper, but is it actually of use (read: funny) in practice? Should I be honest?

So far, not so good. If a trailer's goal is to sell, this one never quite closes the deal with its wincingly dry joke/reaction/repeat strategy. Once Gervais's character has the idea to buck convention and fib, shouldn't we eventually get a sense of the emotional stakes of his decision? As it stands, this seems like perfect red-band material: Oversexed, dark, smart, threatening at any moment to turn into that Gervais-y space where humans stripped of their self-awareness dig deeper holes for themselves. In a world where everybody was so honest that a lie would disarm, shouldn't there be something riskier going on?

I know, I know: At PG-13, there's no red-band-caliber content here. So what else do we have? The joke is over by 30 seconds in, so that's done. Jennifer Garner? She seems all right, if a stretched a little thin. Tina Fey? For two seconds on screen? Rob Lowe in goofy glasses? An unintelligible Jonah Hill? Louis C.K.? Was he not good for at least a couple dirty jokes? One gag or not, let's start this one over again and see if we can't drum up a little more interest with the talent on hand.

VERDICT: Um, no. Would I lie to you?