Bertram Pincus is a man whose people skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but is miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts.
It's a world where everyone tells the truth - and just about anything they're thinking. Mark Bellison is a screenwriter, about to be fired. He's short and chunky with a flat nose - a genetic setup that means he won't get to first base with Anna, the woman he loves. At a bank, on the spur of the moment he blurts out a fib, with eye-popping results. Then, when his mother's on her deathbed, frightened of the eternal void awaiting her, Mark invents fiction. The hospital staff overhear his description of Heaven, believe every word, and tell others. Soon Mark is a prophet, his first inventive screenplay makes him rich, and he's basically a good guy. But will that be enough for Anna? Written by
Clever concept that never reaches it's full potential
In a world where people can only tell the truth, Ricky Gervais creates the lie. What follows this simple concept with great potential is a series of quick fire jokes made funny by the sheer bluntness of the absolute truth. The screenplay is lightly comical but rarely laugh-out-loud funny and continually relies on the same concept.
As the plot progresses, it veers from quick-fire jokes to a parody of religion. On the one hand, this offers an interesting and thought-provoking reflection; however, I found the developing plot to become mildly preachy and irritating to watch. The humour level drops and the religious overtones and romantic subplot overshadow the interesting idea.
Visually, I found the film to be rather drab and dreary. Similarly, I didn't care for the dowdy and monotonous score and soundtrack choices. I understand that these are probably intended to represent a world without fiction, but they make the film a little tedious to watch and don't add anything to the movie. I enjoyed Jenifer Garner's performance as Gervais' love interest which she's plays with harsh yet likable realism, but Gervais' lead performance left me a little cold. In combination with lacklustre screenplay, I was left unimpressed with the utilisation of a potentially hilarious and fascinating concept.
The Invention of Lying is a quiet, simple movie on the surface, but underneath lies a more complex, thought-provoking moral allegory, albeit one that fails to deliver anything truly remarkable. It tries to be clever, but fails to deliver.
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