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
Ricky Gervais insisted that Louis C.K. shave off his goatee because he needed to look like a caveman for the opening scene. C.K. was very reluctant but he eventually shaved it off. The cavemen scene was filmed but it was deleted from the main feature, and presented as a short film on the DVD. See more »
During Anna's first date with Mark, as she's talking with her mother on her cell phone, her phone jumps from her left to right hand and then back again. See more »
Testing. Testing. Testing over the credits. The credits that no one cares about.
[under his breathe]
"Ooh, we're the business people. Ooh, we want our credit before the film starts, 'cause..."
Anyway. The story you're about to see takes place in a world where the human race has never evolved the ability to tell a lie. This is a typical town in that world. As you can see, people have jobs and cars and houses and families, but everyone tells the absolute truth. There's no ...
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Clever concept that never reaches its 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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