Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Invention of Lying

With the votes split between Ricky Gervais and zombies, I choose the movie the started later. Yeah, that's how I make important entertainment decision. Given that I've been feeling more than a little zombie-like lately, the extra 45 minutes between showing times tipped the scales in Gervais favor.

Although one of my fellow movie-going patrons snickered hysterically throughout, I didn't find the film all that amusing. The premise of a world that is always painfully honest was interesting--albeit stretched thin over 100 minutes. Gervais plays sad sack Mark Bellison who discovers--or "invents"--lying. In a world of blind people, the one-eye man is king and this is Bellison's fate as the inventor and only person able to lie.

The only way the filmmakers could elicit humor was not only to create a universe where people didn't/couldn't lie, but also are incessantly forthcoming with their views--also with Tourette's style zeal.

I didn't find the so-called honest revelations all that humorous, but the film does raise some intriguing issues--for example how does advertising (which is basically lying..) work in a world that can't lie. The most provocative topic the film touches on is the "mythology" of religion. I wish it had been explored in more depth, but given that the movie was supposed to be a comedy--and a romantic comedy at that, that subject was merely glossed over.

The movie didn't even examine truth/lying in regard to relationships--which is unfortunates because it could have generated a lot of mileage on that subject. Gervais is unlikely romantic lead, but he somehow manages to pull it off. First in Ghost Town with Tea Leoni and now with Jennifer Garner. His awkwardness is made somehow endearing and truthfully (no pun intended) the best parts of the movie wasn't the lame humor but the few honest and poignant moments .

I don't recommend The Invention of Lying. Perhaps as a Netflix selection--but if you are jonesing for some good Ricky Gervais, rent Ghost Town instead...

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