The Invention of Lying (12a)
Dir. Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
Reviewed by Matt Adcock
ONE WORD SUMMATION: Godbothering
Imagine a world where nobody can lie – not even to create fiction or do any promotional spin. So, in keeping with the spirit of this alternative reality, here’s my fully honest review of the weak and slightly boring new ‘comedy’ film from Ricky Gervais.
The Invention of Lying takes the interesting ‘tell the brutal truth at all times’ idea and has some fun with it for a while. The characters in the film don’t so much have to tell the truth, but seem to have a Tourette’s Syndrome that makes them blurt out whatever they are thinking. For example everyone who meets our hero, Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais), tells him to his face that they think he’s a “fat loser”. At the start of the film even Mark has to abide by the severe honesty convention and so we join him on an amusingly disastrous date with the lovely Anna McDoogles (Jennifer ‘Juno’ Garner).
Things take a dramatic change however when after being sacked Mark is about to be evicted. When in the bank his brain has a misfire and allows him to tell the first lie ever – telling the bank clerk that he has more money in his account than is the case.
Getting away with this he uses his new found skill of deception to seduce women, gain fame and amass a fortune. The one thing he cannot do however is convince Anna who fears having his "chubby, snub-nosed kids", to love him.
"Hey chubby loser, I'm way out of your league!!"
Among his webs of lies Mark tells his dying mother who is scared to go into ‘eternal nothingness’ that there is a heaven where everything is fantastic. Overheard by medical staff this sets in motion the concept of religion and soon the whole world wants to know about the afterlife and what ‘The man in the sky who controls everything’ (who only speaks to Mark) wants us to do. The film falters slightly at this point and it feels that committed atheist Gervais is searching his heart, outlining his issues with God in this very public forum, I hope it helps him find some sort of spiritual peace. The Invention of Lying's aspirations, might be to jump on the Richard Dawkins train of anti-belief but the film can’t quite bring itself to depict faith as being anything other than a beneficial force for mankind overall.
What really torpedoes The Invention of Lying though is that the comedy dries up as in so many formula and under par rom-coms, and that alas is the whole truth!
Darkmatters final rating out of 10: öööö (4 – annoying when it should have been cool & witty)
Darkmatters quick reference guide:
Action 5 (not much)
Style 5 (feels a lot like Ghost Town did last year)
Babes 7 (Garner is still yummy)
Comedy 8 (biting and very funny but it runs out too soon)
Horror 3 (not much unless you fear chubby losers)
Spiritual Enlightenment 6 (Made me happy to be a believer)