Who's In It: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey
The Basics: A parallel dimension exists where no human being is capable of lying. In fact, they're also compelled by some kind of internal force to blurt out harsh truths at every turn. So when Ricky Gervais asks out Jennifer Garner on a date, she can't just say "no," she also has to tell him that she's out of his league. She is, of course, but it's still kind of a weird set up. Anyway, one day Gervais learns that he can speak untruths. And then he uses his newly invented lying skill to become rich, famous and way more lovable to Garner. Problem is, does she love him for him or for his money and power? And does it matter? Like everything else in this movie, that would be a big "Nope."
What's The Deal: Look at that cast list of really awesome comic actors. Gervais, Tina Fey, Louis C.K., Jonah Hill. Even Rob Lowe can be funny when he's playing a smarmy jerk, which is what he's doing here. So someone explain to me how this reasonably funny movie turned out to be just reasonably funny. Gervais even wrote it, and he wrote the original The Office and Extras. So what went wrong? I wouldn't even care that the logic of the movie's "nobody can lie" premise kind of falls apart as the movie chugs along, if only it were making me lose my breath laughing. Instead I chuckled some. Just some. And now I'm bummed.
Probable Explanation: You kind of have to be adorable if you're going to star in a big Hollywood comedy. But Gervais has built his career on playing hilariously delusional creeps or ethically challenged career strivers who'll ditch their friends and sell out their integrity for money. That's not the kind of leading man who wins Jennifer Garner. So in spite of some really great bits like nursing homes called "A Sad Place for Hopeless Old People," some know-it-all producer(s) must have decided that the human center of this wasn't allowed to be the unlikable everyschlub that the audience knows and, oddly enough, already likes.
Best Part That's Going To Offend Lots Of Humorless Religious People: Gervais's character, in order to soothe his dying mother who's scared to walk into the light, invents the concepts of God and Heaven. To his credit, he creates a really excellent Heaven where you get ice cream all the time.