The Invention of Lying appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film came with a surprisingly drab image.
Sharpness was fine though never impressive. I’d be hard-pressed to point out actual examples of softness; some wide shots lacked fine detail, but I never noticed anything genuinely ill-defined. That said, the movie didn’t offer much snap to its visuals. At least the picture lacked edge enhancement, moiré effects or jagged edges. Source flaws also remained absent.
Colors were decent. The movie went with a fairly subdued palette, so the hues never had much room to provide bright tones. They looked fine within those restrictions, though I thought the colors could’ve shown more pop in a few scenes. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, while shadows showed good delineation. This was never a poor presentation, and I suspect it reflected the source material, but it remained surprisingly bland.
As for the film’s Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack, it was more consistent, but that wasn’t necessarily a positive. Like most comedies, this one went with a pretty restrained soundfield. Expect general ambience across the board. The surrounds offered moderate reinforcement and not much more. The scene in which Mark invents lying offered the only really impressive use of the spectrum; otherwise, this was a decidedly forgettable soundfield.
At least audio quality satisfied. Speech was consistently crisp and tight, without edginess or other issues. Music fared best, as the score sounded clear and smooth. Effects didn’t have much to do, but they seemed acceptably accurate and full. Nothing here impressed, but I thought the track deserved a “C+“.
How did the picture and sound of this Blu-ray compare to the film’s DVD version? The audio was essentially a wash. The movie didn’t enjoy a dynamic soundtrack, so I didn’t think the lossless mix worked significantly better.
As for the visuals, the Blu-ray did offer an improvement over the DVD. The latter suffered from iffy sharpness at times and also came with various digital artifacts. The Blu-ray cleaned up the latter and tightened up definition, but don’t expect miracles. As I noted earlier, the Blu-ray offered pretty flat visuals. Yes, it looked better than the DVD, but not in an exponential manner; it’s a step up but not a remarkable one.
The Blu-ray shares the same extras as the DVD. Prequel: The Dawn of Lying goes for six minutes, 29 seconds and provides Gervais and other members of the movie’s cast as cavemen. Gervais’s prehistoric ancestor tells the first lie. That’s not an especially exceptional conceit, and “Dawn” doesn’t make it very interesting. Though not described as such, this is actually a deleted scene originally intended as a pre-credit sequence. Since the final flick’s already pretty tedious, I’m glad it didn’t make the cut.
For a look behind the scenes, we get the seven-minute, 16-second A Truly ‘Honest’ Making-of Featurette with Ricky Gervais. It features remarks from co-writers/co-directors Gervais and Matthew Robinson, producer Linda and Oly Obst, and actors Stephen Merchant, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Louis CK, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Fionnula Flanagan and Jonah Hill. The program offers fluff about the shoot, but it also includes some amusing bits, especially when Gervais rides Bateman incessantly for his role in Teen Wolf Too.
We learn more about one of Gervais’s confidantes via Meet Karl Pilkington. This featurette goes for 17 minutes, 46 seconds as it shows Gervais’s pal/movie extra Pilkington during the production. At no point does this become a serious look at the shoot; it’s a bit of comedy that offers moderate amusement.
Four of Ricky and Matt’s Video Podcasts fill nine minutes, 59 seconds. In these, we see little snapshots/comedy bits with Gervais. (Robinson usually films the segments; he only appears on camera once.) A few mildly interesting tidbits result, but these remain pretty fluffy.
Five Additional Scenes run a total of seven minutes, 12 seconds. These include “On the Way to the Restaurant” (1:25), “Mark and Greg at the Bar” (1:10), “Post Casino” (1:26), “The Readers: Invention of the Fork” (1:02) and “The Readers: Mathematics” (2:09). The first three offer more gags based on incessant honesty; they add nothing to the equation. The final two are mildly engaging because they show the awful trailers for the movies featured in the world of Lying. They’re enjoyable just due to Christopher’s Guests dry reading of the banal lines.
A gag reel called More Laughter: Corpsing and Outtakes lasts five minutes, 33 seconds. We get a few amusing adlibs, but most of the segment focuses on Gervais’s inability to make it through a take without laughing. As much as I like Gervais, I could go the rest of my life without ever hearing that awful high-pitched cackle of his.
A digital copy finishes the package. This allows you to slap the movie onto a portable viewing thingy or a computer. And that’s the truth!
Despite a clever premise and a whole lot of talent both behind and in front of the camera, The Invention of Lying flops. It uses up most of its laugh lines in its first 10 minutes, and it proves tedious as it rehashes the same gags again and again. The Blu-ray provides average picture, audio and extras. I can’t even recommend Lying to Ricky Gervais fans, as I expect they’ll see it as a big disappointment.
To rate this film visit the original review of THE INVENTION OF LYING