Are you interested in some dry British humor, with a side of moral ambiguity? The Invention of Lying is the latest film from the creator of the hit TV series The Office and Extras, Ricky Gervais. The movie takes place in a world where deception doesn’t exist and honesty isn’t the best policy, it’s the only policy. The Invention of Lying centers on the one person in the universe who’s developed the understanding and the ability to tell a lie.
Check out our review for The Invention of Lying…
- Directors: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
- Screenwriters: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
- Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe, Louis C.K., Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jonah Hill
The Invention of Lying takes place in an alternate universe where the concept of falsehood doesn’t exist. No one is capable of telling a lie, and everyone speaks their minds no matter how harsh the truth is. Mark Bellison (Gervais) is a down on his luck screenwriter who after getting fired from his job, and evicted from his apartment comes up with the first lie. He uses his new found ability to manipulate the general public, become filthy rich, and win the affections of the lovely Anna McDoogles (Garner). The only problem is even with the gift of gab he can’t lie his way into Anna’s heart, or gain the genuine respect of his colleagues because his success is based on a sham.
- Ricky Gervais: The one thing that stood out about Gervais’ performance was his dramatic scenes. There were certain points in the film where the tone took a very dark turn and his character was forced to get serious and emotional. It was a totally different side of him that was exposed to the audience and he pulled it off beautifully.
- The Setting: The film was set in an alternate reality, so everything from the city billboards, to the offices had to be bland and straight forward. The set design was very one dimensional, but it worked for the purpose of the story.
- The Cameos: The best part of the film had to come from the many cameo appearances made by several talented actors. Edward Norton, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Bateman, and The Office and Extras co-star Stephen Merchant each popped in for various scenes.
- Tina Fey: Tina Fey’s role could have been given to any no name actress in Hollywood without a shadow of a doubt. She starred as Mark’s snarky secretary Shelley, and pretty much played a watered down version of Liz Lemon mixed with her news anchor personality from Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update.
- Religious Undertone: The film is marketed as a comedy, but has some serious religious themes that play alongside the story. There’s an entire bit dedicated to the origin of heaven and hell, what’s considered good or bad, and the daily responsibilities of “the man in the sky.” No matter what your spiritual position is, the subtext comes off like bad propaganda.
The Invention of Lying isn’t a terrible film, but it’s not a typical comedy. There are a lot of self-reflective moments that occur during the movie, so if you do plan on seeing it, prepare for your laugh to be followed by a hefty cry.
The Invention of Lying in playing in theaters everywhere nationwide.