Posts Tagged ‘Louis CK’

The Invention of Lying was set to be the biggest laugh of last year. Ricky Gervais, comedy genius behind television’s The Office and Extras, had his name all over this picture including co-writing and -directing credits; but it sadly disappointed in one way or another.

Mark Bellison (Gervais) lives in a world where no one has ever lied, leading to a life of blunt statements and no personal filters or imagination. However, one day Mark manages to utter an untruth. Seizing the opportunity, Mark realizes he can now get anything he wants including the girl of his dreams (Jennifer Garner) and revenge on a co-worker (Rob Lowe). Unfortunately, his new power carries widespread significance he could not have anticipated.

The movie is divided into two different films: the first half takes the idea to its funny extreme in which Mark uses his new ability to take advantage of various situations, while the latter half presents a serious look at the consequences of his actions and the impact of his unrequited love. Most tend to like one half or the other, though neither is stellar. The first half is almost too ridiculous and the latter half becomes unexpectedly sombre.

Gervais does appear to take a shot at religions of which even Bill Maher would approve. When a small group overhears Mark comforting someone on their death bed with a description of “heaven,” word spreads that he has knowledge of the afterlife and throngs of people gather to learn more from the new prophet. However, the jab comes when he makes up a set of 10 commandments and creates “the man in the sky” that is God-like – all of which are figments of his imagination.

The film’s greatest failure is not living up to expectations created by Gervais’ other projects and the marketing campaign. The acting is adequate and it is often quite funny, but the movie is just not generally good.

Special features include: additional scenes; “Prequel: The Dawn of Lying,” documenting the first caveman to lie; a making-of featurette; “Meet Karl Pilkington,” chronicling his first appearance in a Hollywood movie; video podcasts by Gervais and co-director Matthew Robinson, which includes hazing the intern; outtakes; and a digital copy of the film.

Most say it takes any festival three years to become established and begin to truly attract the best in the industry. Celebrating its third anniversary, the Toronto Just for Laughs Festival is boasting its finest line-up yet.

This year’s collection of comedic superstars include Monty Python’s John Cleese, Emmy award-winning comedian Sarah Silverman, touring sensation John Pinette, singer-songwriter and YouTube star Bo Burnham, one of the hottest comedians in North America Louis CK and This Hour Has 22 Minutes’ Shaun Majumder will host a CBC special. If that’s not enough, Flight of the Conchords star Arj Barker, Jon Dore of the Comedy Network’s Jon Dore Television Show, Canadian Comedy multiple-award nominees Jeremy Hotz and Debra DiGiovanni, and Tonight Show veteran John Caparulo will also be taking various stages.

For the first time in Toronto, an A-list line-up of comedians will share the stage for an All-Star Gala at Massey Hall and the highly anticipated The Nasty Show at The Panasonic Theatre. In addition, the laughter this year is extended to the St. Lawrence Centre with two new series – a special event with improv sensations Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood of Who’s Line is it Anyway as well as the one-person show series featuring Scottish star Danny Bhoy.

The world’s best comedians will perform in Toronto in 42 shows at 11 venues over 5 days. From critically-acclaimed, established veterans to daring, fresh new faces, the festival offers something to tickle anyone’s funny bone. The laughs run from July 15 to July 19.

Actors can only bring so much to a film but it is up to the director to bring all the elements together.

Cooper (Matthew Broderick) suffered a significant head injury at the hands of a co-worker (Louis C.K.), who now pesters him with attempts at making amends. Cooper’s career is slowly going down the drain, followed by his loved ones, as his injury leaves him with a sketchy memory and hinders his ability to concentrate. At the behest of his mother, Cooper returns home from Chicago to rural Illinois to try to convince his more forgetful Uncle Rollie (Alan Alda) to move to a retirement home. Upon returning, he also discovers his high school sweetheart Charlotte (Virginia Madsen) is newly single. When Rollie reveals he is the owner of a rare Frank Schulte baseball card and is interested in selling, the group heads back to Chicago for a card collector’s convention. There, the inept pair tries to ensure they gain a fair price for the card and avoid swindlers (Bobby Cannavale) willing to take advantage of their disabilities.

Each of the actors appears to have been left to their own devices during shooting. Even though they are incredibly capable, it is the director’s duty to ensure a fluid performance is gained from each contributor. Here, first-time feature director and long-time actor Terry Kinney drops the ball. The actors often appear stranded in scenes. On the other hand, Kinney does appear comfortable with the material and is able to move the action along smoothly.

The comedy-drama is a series of episodic events, tracking a string of setbacks in new locations. Unluckily, the sitcom style and gathering of eccentric characters points to an unfair comparison with the indie sensation Little Miss Sunshine. In addition, to its benefit or not, the movie fails to take a serious look at Alzheimer’s or head trauma, treating the topic rather lightheartedly.

There are no DVD bonus features to evaluate.