Mini Reviews: October 2
Below are Mini Reviews from Cineman Syndicate for two films opening on October 2, 2009.
THE INVENTION OF LYING. British comic Ricky Gervais attempts to satirize religion and Hollywood in one deadpan swoop. In a world where everyone tells the truth, he plays an abuse magnet who starts fibbing in order to improve his lot and lasso a beautiful woman (Jennifer Garner). His biggest lie: "The Man In The Sky Who Controls Everything." Thoughtful and amusing up to a point, the cameo-filled piece is more than an existential goof à la Woody Allen or Albert Brooks. Gervais goes for the faith jugular, but chickens out when subverting genre conventions. Ultimately, the atheist gospel according to Ricky is too preachy for its own good. (PG-13) FAIR COMEDY. Directors - Ricky Gervais & Matthew Robinson; Lead - Ricky Gervais; Running Time - 100 minutes.
WHIP IT. In her directorial debut, Drew Barrymore thrusts Juno's Ellen Page onto the roller derby oval as a Texas teen named Bliss who lies about her age in order to join a hapless all-girl skate squad. It's a mild form of rebellion against her pageant-obsessed mother (Marcia Gay Harden) and the ensuing conflict is equally gentle. Bliss becomes the poster girl for the sport and falls for a boy in a band. Mirroring Barrymore's outgoing, rollicking personality, the breezy picture doesn't suffer from excessive hipness and irony is a foreign concept. There's poignant interaction between the generations, puppy-love lyricism, and just enough edginess to keep adolescents engaged. (PG-13) GOOD COMEDY. Director - Drew Barrymore; Lead - Ellen Page; Running Time - 111 minutes.
(Capsule reviews by John P. McCarthy)
Copyright 2009 Cineman Syndicate LLC.