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MatchFlick Member Reviews
The Invention of Lying
5 reviews

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Movie Details

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Directed By
Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Written By:
Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Cast:
Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Christopher Guest, Ricky Gervais, Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Stephanie March, Jimmi Simpson, Dreama Walker, Louis C.K., Stephen Merchant, John Hodgman, Nathan Corddry, Danielle Perry, Lance Norris, Patrick Mel Hayes, Douglass Bowen Flynn, Ellen Becker-Gray, Leigh Belair, Christine Blackburn, Desiree April Connolly, Nicki Connors, Jeffrey Corazzini, Diane Curran, Vincent J. Earnshaw, Scott C England, David J. Garfield, Jennifer Gjulameti, Albert Gornie, Sophya Gudelman, Haytham Kandil, Dan Marshall, Todd Mello, Jason Mulcahy, Alan Resnic, Steve Ricard, David Szehi, Marc Vos, Donald Warnock, Roz Ryan, Ashlie Atkinson, Bobby Moynihan, Ken Cheeseman, Luz Alexandra Ramos, Bates Wilder, Susan Farese, Dennis Lemoine, Donald Foley, Michele Proude, Ashlie Atkinson, Ken Cheeseman, Bates Wilder, Michele Proude, Michael Gough, Morgan O'Brien, Susan Garibotto, George J. Vezina, Peter Brooke, Karl Pilkington, Jared Voss, Valerie Hager, Jessica Baade, Kevin Fennessy, Mercedes Maria, Alison Quinn, Joe Stapleton, William Todisco, Nick Towne, Sabe Schoeneg

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The Invention of Lying (2009)
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Movie Review by Jarrod
October 3rd, 2009

'The Invention of Lying' has a brilliant premise; Ricky Gervais is Mark, a man who lives in a bland world where everyone tells the truth, except for him. He discovers this when he goes to the bank, and requests $800 from his account, when he knows he only has $300 available for withdrawal.

The teller believes him and apologizes for the computer's mistake. Mark, of course, uses lies to his own advantage, but his primary goals are simple enough; he wants to console his mother, Martha (Fionnula Flanagan), who is dying in a retirement home, and he wants to strike up a romance with Anna (Jennifer Garner), the woman he has a blind date with, and who tells him that she does not find him attractive, and, therefore, the children they would have together would probably not be attractive. Mark tries to win Anna's affections, but is not particularly successful; she likes his personality well enough, but not much else. She plans to marry the more handsome Brad (Rob Lowe).

In addition to lying, Mark also invents the concept of an afterlife and the concept of God, which makes Mark a celebrity as word of these marvelous revelations spreads. He explains that God is a benevolent entity responsible for creating all things, even cancer, and so Mark has entered into the centuries-old theological and philosophical debate of how a compassionate God can, in fact, tolerate, or allow, the existence of evil. Gervais's satirical jabs at religion delighted me, and made me laugh, more than any other singular aspect of the film.

The implications are staggering, that religion is only possible in a world where people are capable of lying, where they are credulous and willing to believe whatever they are told without question. Lying makes our mortal existence far more colorful and enjoyable. Could we even function properly if stripped of our capacity to lie? The movie never ponders or explores issues like this, but I think it nonetheless inspires viewers to think about them, and discuss them. Is there some biological, or neurological, reason why everyone in Mark's universe is compelled to tell the truth? Why is Mark wired differently?

Again, no explanation is offered. I suppose the flick would like to stay grounded in quasi-realism, and not suggest magic or fantasy, as in Liar Liar, where a lawyer is rendered unable to lie because of his son's birthday wish. Gervais's performance is consistently entertaining, and Garner is charming and beautiful, but their chemistry is lacking; and the dialogue often sounds awkward, would real people actually talk like this, with unrestrained honesty at the expense of politeness, it would be humiliating and rude.

Of course, no one is offended, and eagerly reveal embarrassing truths about themselves in ordinary conversation. I also wonder about how governments function in this world; how can political systems endure without telling lies or keeping secrets? The picture's negative, or at best, highly critical, views on religion have been wisely censored from the trailer, since showing even a small portion of them would likely invite a boycott from organizations like the Catholic League.

Far better than Ghost Town, with some wonderful supporting roles from Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, and Louis CK. It should be noted that Mark works as a screenwriter, and that the movie industry consists only of films based on historical events, in which actors essentially read historical facts to the audience. However boring this experience might be, I imagine it would be more engaging than Transformers 2.

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Lloyd
Oct 17, 2009 4:50 PM
also wrote a review of The Invention of Lying
 
Jarrod, I think because of the length of this movie and the line over and over about fat kids with turned up noses, I got tired of the movie and so did my girl friend, and the movie did not go anywhere, there was nothing original about the movie and it was predictable, but kudos to ricky gervais and his success in sin city Hollywood, CA, he is getting a lot of chances and great exposure.



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