There are cycles of inspiration and rebirth, but the barbed promise of the early going loses its way in choices aimed at sentimentality rather than, as Harvey Kurtzman memorably put it, humor in a jugular vein.
-Jonathan F. RichardsFull Review
It's bogged down in too many squishy romantic-comedy pieties.
-A.O. ScottFull Review
I think the first half hour would be almost impossible to sustain because it is so inspired.
-Michael PhillipsFull Review
The last third of the movie is as bad as anything I've seen this year, with the laughs trailing off, and half of the supporting characters, the zestier ones, being airbrushed from the frame.
-Anthony LaneFull Review
Despite the ambitious scope of its premise, this confounding, disappointing and, in the end, depressing movie is content to devote 80 percent of its screen time to wondering who gets to kiss the girl.
-Dana StevensFull Review
The romantic plot, involving his unrequited loved for Garner, is soured by her character's unconcealed shallowness.
-J. R. JonesFull Review
The movie never surpasses the gleeful hilarity of the first 25 minutes, when it allows us to imagine just how crushing and soulless this nakedly Darwinian universe would be.
-Tom CharityFull Review
The movie is smart and silly.
-Joe NeumaierFull Review
[It] does have its moments -- most of them courtesy of Gervais and his very specific brand of self-deprecating, always equivocating comedy -- just not nearly enough of them.
-Betsy SharkeyFull Review
The result is an erratically funny but often frustrating comedy, with an interesting premise hobbled by internal inconsistencies and uneven writing.
-Liam LaceyFull Review
There's no doubting that this is one comic who can really act. But maybe Gervais should leave the directing to someone who knows how to tell funny stories on film, if such a talent can be found these days.
-Kathleen MurphyFull Review
It would be such a joy to bend the truth and say that The Invention of Lying lives up to the potential of its inspired premise.
-Christy LemireFull Review
The small-town Massachusetts settings are certainly fresh, and some of the involuntary confessions are fun. But, all in all, ita(TM)s not a great comedy. And thata(TM)s no lie.
-Stephen WhittyFull Review
By adhering to the romantic-comedy formula, The Invention of Lying stops short of being truly inventive. But enough sequences are fresh and inspired to make this a comedy honestly worth catching.
-Claudia PuigFull Review
Mr. Gervais's long-established gift for small-screen comedy goes terribly slack, leaving him likable, as always, but, on the big screen, looking lost.
-Joe MorgensternFull Review
To tell the truth, The Invention of Lying is a funny movie that fails to deliver on its first-half potential.
-Linda BarnardFull Review
There's no hope that Gervais' performance in The Invention of Lying will open up new hope for a different kind of leading man -- and that's what makes his resoluteness so great.
-Stephanie ZacharekFull Review
Marketed as a romantic comedy, The Invention of Lying turns out to be a dour, shouty atheist manifesto.
-Kyle SmithFull Review
It's no fun watching Gervais work out a tired fantasy of turning hot babes into chubby chasers. We want Gervais in all his merry, malicious glory. That's no lie.
-Peter TraversFull Review
The Invention of Lying, in addition to being very funny and inventive, is an attempt at a genuine statement about life, social discourse and morality.
-Mick LaSalleFull Review
Ultimately, the small-scale, often downbeat jokes in Lying never quite match the grand concept.
-Rafer GuzmanFull Review
A mostly funny if melancholic defense of deceit.
[A] droll, witty and thoughtful comedy about the thing that really makes the world go round.
-Roger MooreFull Review
Sublimely funny, slyly satirical and deliberately designed to upset Aunt Prissy, The Invention of Lying weaves quite a wicked web.
-Colin CovertFull Review
Someday, Gervais will make a screen comedy both brilliant and consistent; in the meantime, The Invention of Lying will pass the time.
-Moira MacDonaldFull Review
With The Invention of Lying, the British comic actor Ricky Gervais has come up with a wickedly funny idea for a movie -- and then purged the wickedness right out of it.-
-Ty BurrFull Review
It also runs out of steam abruptly, as if there were nowhere else to go, but Gervais' wickedly sly concept lingers quite awhile after the final chuckle. And that's the truth.
-Connie OgleFull Review
Gervais, who co-directed and co-wrote with Matthew Robinson, walks a delicate tightrope above hazardous chasms.
-Roger EbertFull Review
While it never tops the explosive hilarity of its first 20 minutes, The Invention of Lying is a smartly written, nicely layered comedy.
-Justin ChangFull Review