The Invention of Lying appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. While the picture had some positives, it was more erratic than I’d like.
Sharpness was inconsistent. Close-ups and two-shots looked fine, but anything wider tended to be rough and ill-defined. Some of the issues stemmed from digital artifacts; I noticed mild edge enhancement along with somewhat prominent mosquito noise. The movie came across as rather blocky on occasion, and I noticed shimmering and jagged edges at times. No source flaws appeared, however.
Colors were decent. The movie went with a fairly subdued palette, so the hues never had much room to provide bright tones. Still, they looked fine within those restrictions. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, while shadows showed good delineation. I liked enough of the transfer to merit a “C”, but some parts of it didn’t work very well.
As for the film’s Dolby Digital 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+“.
The DVD includes a moderate allotment of extras. 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 few ads launch the disc. We get promos for Sherlock Holmes, The Time Traveler’s Wife, The Blind Side and Preacher’s Kid. No trailer for Lying appears here.
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 DVD 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.