18
Oct
2009
Review: The Invention of Lying
The Invention of Lying
Sam
The Invention of Lying, the new film written by and starring Ricky Gervais, falls doom to having an incredibly clever premise. What would the world be like if everyone told the truth? What would happen if you were the one person who could lie? All interesting questions that seem tailor made for a comedy-especially in the hands of a genius like Gervais it seemed like it would be a winner. But something got lost in the concept-the laughs.

The premise seems simple enough but it ended up leading to the downfall of the film. Ricky Gervais learns how to tell lies in a world where everyone always tells the truth. So when he lies, naturally everyone believes him. Life in this world makes for some pretty funny gags, that unfortunately get a bit predictable if not outright stale by the end of the film.

It seems as though everyone in this world is a shallow asshole except Gervais. Granted many of the things most people think are on the shallow end of decency, it seems as though the characters in the film were just mean robots spouting insults at Gervais. It was fun when it was commenting on things that people generally lie about, but it just grew tired hearing about how Gervais is fat.

Jennifer Garner plays Gervais' love interest who makes it clear basically throughout the entire film that she is not interested in Gervais because of his looks. Why he is still in love with her, who knows but she seems like a bitch if she only cares about passing on Rob Lowe genes to her kids.

Another problem in the film is that the rules are hard to keep straight. Apparently, being able to only tell the truth also means saying whatever pops into your head out loud. This does not really make sense but whatever. At times it felt as though some of the weakness in the script was meant to be covered up by the gaggle of cameos from fantastic comic actors like Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman, Louis CK and John Hodgman just to name a few.

At times the film seemed like it was ready to just be a wacky comedy but then there is a sharp turn where the idea of religion and god come into play. This is a natural question to arise in a world like this but, alas, hearing about how there's an invisible guy in the sky controlling every aspect of life is a bit I've heard from every halfway decent atheist comic. But this tangent seems to hit at the core problem of the movie. There are some funny parts without a doubt, but it seems that Gervais and co-writer Matthew Robinson are trying to hit on all of the implications of a world like this. The problem was they forgot that this is a comedy and after a while, we stopped caring about Gervais' wild new discovery.

C
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