The Invention of Lying — Ricky Gervais can’t seem to catch a break on the silver screen, because even though most critics and audiences dismissed this comedy as unequivocally as they did Ghost Town, both had me chuckling throughout. In this one, set in an alternate universe in which lying doesn’t exist, Gervais plays a schlub who stumbles onto the breakthrough in the title, helping him land a woman (Jennifer Garner) who’s out of his league. The Blu-ray includes a digital copy, outtakes and a making-of featurette, but no commentary.
I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell — Nowhere near as bad as you’d think it would be, this low-rent The Hangover-wannabe, loosely adapted from the short story collection of the same title by Tucker Max, is worth a rent if, like me, you’re the type of dude who watches every American Pie sequel just because they’re there. Unknown Matt Czuchry does a solid Zack Morris act as Tucker, a sex-obsessed narcissist who takes his buddies on a bawdy sexcapade. The DVD includes many deleted scenes, all of which thoroughly deserved deletion.
Pride and Prejudice Blu-ray — Keira Knightley stars as lovelorn Elizabeth Bennet in this exquisite Jane Austen adaptation, directed by Joe Wright. The Blu-ray includes cast interviews, a retrospective on Austen and making-of documentaries, but disappointingly lacks a digital copy.
Surrogates — Bruce Willis continues his grand tradition of starring in nearly unwatchable action movies, this one set in a future in which people interact only with robot go-betweens. Willis is there to kick butt and utter sadly underdeveloped catch-phrase dialogue, but he mostly just stares around as bored and vacant as an abandoned ‘bot. The Blu-ray contains deleted scenes you won’t find on the DVD, as well as a look inside the dubious science behind the story.
Whip It — Too cute for its own good, this fizzy roller derby exploitation flick starring Ellen Page coasts when it could have darted for glory (check out my full review of the film here). Seven deleted scenes and an alternate opening fill out the package on DVD, and the Blu-ray has a digital copy.
You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown — Charles Schulz’s lovable loser learns that although nice guys finish last, at least they get a chance to finish. The DVD captures the 49-minute 1985 cornball classic so you can watch it again, realize it doesn’t live up to your nostalgic expectations and move on with life. They sure don’t make ‘em like this anymore, but perhaps there’s good reason for that. The lone extra feature is a documentary on the 1967 album that inspired the show.
Phil Villarreal’s humorous money saving book, Secrets of a Stingy Scoundrel, is available on Amazon.