Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis CK
Writers:Ricky Gervais/Matthew Robinson
Directors: Ricky Gervais/Matthew Robinson

The Plot

Source: YahooMovies

In an alternate reality, lying -- even the concept of a lie -- does not even exist. Everyone -- from politicians to advertisers to the man and woman on the street -- speaks the truth and nothing but the truth with no thought of the consequences. But when a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards. In a world where every word is assumed to be the absolute truth, Mark easily lies his way to fame and fortune. But lies have a way of spreading, and Mark begins to realize that things are getting a little out of control when some of his tallest tales are being taken as, well, gospel. With the entire world now hanging on his every word, there is only one thing Mark has not been able to lie his way into: the heart of the woman he loves.

The Review

The Invention of Lying had all the potential in the World to be good. Ricky Gervais is a comic genius and I personally have liked his stints in film (even Ghost Town, which is a lot better than it should have been thanks to him). Gervais even helped write and direct it as well. However, although it does present some interesting ideas and has a cast many filmmakers in Hollywood would kill for, the film is just not that good.

The idea of the film, about a man telling the first lie in the history of the world, just does not make sense. We, as a human species, are built on lies and deceit; sad to say, that’s how everything is how it is today. In the world Gervais and co-writer/director Matthew Robinson have created, we have still grown as a species. America is where it is, technology is relatively the same, and even though creativity does not exist (movies in this world are just taped lectures about history), everything seems to be what life is like now.

Even if you don’t know history that well, you are aware how everything got where it is: lies, lies, pillaging, and all sorts of evil. To suggest that the world could just move on, grow, and become the same society minus a few things here and there is completely insane. I did not buy into this world whatsoever, and it ended up distracting me through out.

I also had a big issue with the way people told the truth in the film. It’s like an inner monologue put through a speaker system, as everyone goes around and just says whatever they are feeling to each other no matter what. I get that’s how the world is, but for a movie, it gets really annoying. The dialogue got to be unbearable in some parts and there’s only so much negativity you can take and so many times you can hear one character dress down Gervais’s character Mark Bellison before you just want to shut it out.

The Invention of Lying also wastes the cast it has on minor roles that have no impact whatsoever. One of my favorite comics, Louis CK, plays Mark’s best friend Greg and is relegated to random mumbling and drunkenness through out, not really having a point. Ditto to Mark’s next door neighbor Frank played by Jonah Hill. Frank is depressed a lot, and eventually gets less depressed, but he’s only in about three scenes and one of them is in a montage, so he’s completely superfluous. Jennifer Garner, who plays the love interest Anna, is grating and unlikeable. No matter how much Mark cares, she wants a perfect genetic mate and can’t look past Mark’s ugly looks to like him for who he is, even though Mark likes her, shallow bitch and all. I wanted to stab the Anna character in the face throughout the whole movie, for a good romantic foil she did not make.

There is one bright spot, however (AND SPOILERS AHEAD!): halfway through the film, Mark makes up the “Giant Man in the Sky” to help his mother die with some hope. This catches on, and soon enough, Mark pretty much invents his version of God, the only version known to these people. These little scenes were funny and a nice knock at religion, with Gervais throwing in jokes about how crazy and ridiculous it truly is. I agree with his sentiment, and laughed at all the little jabs and jokes he threw in there.

However, The Invention of Lying is not a movie worth seeing. Gervais fans will be disappointed, and the general populace will find this too negative and dark to be enjoyable. It’s a shame too, because Ricky Gervais deserves a great film career…this just isn’t the movie to provide that.

Final Verdict:


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