Invention of Lying, The
The INVENTION OF LYING takes place presently in a world that cannot tell a lie. They don’t even know what a lie is. There is no word for “lie” or for the word “truth.” It simply is “so” or “not so.” Until one day, Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais,), has an idea in his head and tells the first lie. Like most lies, he is instantly caught but in a world where lying doesn’t exist they assume he is correct and they must be mistaken. Mark has to decide just how to handle this newly found power in work, love and life.
The film opens with Mark going on a blind date with Anna (Jennifer Garner). Without lies, a first date is brutally honest. Anna quickly but kindly reveals that she is not attracted to Mark nor will he likely be receiving sex from her, which ironically isn’t too different than dates that I have. In typical Ricky Gervais form he plays the disappointed awkwardness to perfection and accepts her comments because this is how his whole life has been. Even the waiter points out that Anna is way out of Mark’s league and they all seem to agree. This is all very funny. Funny enough to forgive the fact that most of everything said isn’t so much truth telling but more of word vomit. Is it necessary that the waiter tell them he is ashamed of his job? Sure it might be the truth but keeping it to him self wouldn’t be a lie.
As the story progresses, Mark quickly realizes that he can give instant joy to people because they believe whatever he says. This gets out of hand when he mentions there is a better place after we die. I forgot to mention that the Bible does not exist in this world. You believe it as either fact or fiction and they chose the fiction route. To be honest subtracting lie and deceit from the world would seriously alter the bible. Rightfully this information creates a worldwide frenzy. Everyone now has hope and wants to know more. In one of the films funniest scenes we see Mark try to explain the details and answer questions about his own creation of his bible. I actually think it makes a good point about Atheists and Christians alike, dwelling on negative or minuet aspects of a “Man In The Sky” without observing the positive truths.
What I really appreciated is the details away from the story. Commercials and advertisements are painfully honest like: “Pepsi, when they don’t have Coke.” The retirement home is properly labeled “A Sad Place Where Old People Come To Die. “ Actors are non-existent because that would be pretending to be something you are not. Instead, film consists of a person reading history on screen, which Mark is somehow a screenwriter for. I would think he would be more of an editor. Unfortunately, I feel they ran thin on these details and comedy the further along the film went. I think they had a great idea and wrote the first date scene immediately then attempted to write a film around that concept and scene alone. The energy is strong during this scene but is unable to keep the momentum consistently throughout the rest of the film even with a slew of great cameos.
I love this concept! It’s a completely original idea, which seems to be lacking in today’s film industry. I think Ricky Gervais is a brilliant comedian and if you haven’t checked out his work in The Office or Extras I definitely recommend it. It is disappointing that the filmmakers were unable to capitalize on such a great idea. I feel like this movie had potential for real greatness. Nonetheless, originality goes a long way with me and the moments that were laugh inducing made me do it out loud.