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Brian Learns About The Invention of Lying

The Invention of LyingTelling the truth is such an easy concept when you strip back the layers and psychoanalyze the action, but why is it so hard for people to ultimately do?  I’m sure you heard the phrase that honesty goes a long way.  So why does it always seem to get us in trouble when things are really much better off left unsaid?  Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you lived in a world where everybody always told the truth no matter how harsh it might sound? Even on your deathbed, if you asked your beloved wife, in your last whimper of breath how you looked, she would have to say you look like crap.  How horrible would that be to hear as your last words on this planet?  Pretty bad I must say, but what’s a person to do when all they can do is tell the truth?  Such is the conundrum explored in The Invention of Lying.

 The Invention of Lying

 Warner Brothers’ comedy The Invention of Lying was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson.  If the name Ricky Gervais sounds familiar, that’s because it damn well should.  He is the one responsible for the success of NBC’s The Office.  We, the American public, owe him much thanks and praise.  So how did the comedic script and production of Ricky’s film hold up?  Is it just as good as an Office episode or even better?  Give me two more paragraphs of your time to quench the inquisitive taste lurking within the shadow of your thoughts.

 The Invention of Lying

 I’m not sure if I was just tired or not while watching this, but the filming of the movie took place in Massachusetts and not once did I ever feel like the story was set in America.  Maybe it’s because of all the heavy accents?  Or maybe because it takes place in an alternate reality other than our own?  I’m not sure.  What I do know is that in this alternate reality, lying does not exist.  There are no thoughts of ill consequences as the truth is spoken no matter what, from politicians to cheating to spouses, it does not matter.  That is until one day.  One fateful day when a loser name Mark (Ricky Gervais), yes even his mom called him that, is down on his luck and discovers he has the ability to lie and quickly realizes that being dishonest has its rewards and advantages.  The movie refers to lying as the ability to tell what is not, because after all, there is no such terminology as the word lie.  Through his dishonest practices and fibs, no matter how small they were, Mark easily achieves all the fame, glory and prestige most people spend a lifetime dreaming about.  But as usual, the price of fame comes with a catch and despite Mark’s success he still can’t possess the one thing he truly wants most out of life…his beloved Anna (Jennifer Garner), whom he has secretly loved since childhood.

 The Invention of Lying

So the premise of this warm heart felt romantic comedy is all fine and dandy, and even somewhat intriguing, but how does it measure up is the million dollar question.  You have to admit that a comedy set in an alternate reality is pretty different from most movies so I give it some bonus points and kudos for braving that front.  However, I just could not help feeling like I was sitting through a so-so episode of The Office.  In my opinion, the film really never got better than unadulterated mediocrity.  There were a few laughs to be found, but any major ones to be had were spaced far between.  It’s like pulling that can of Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup out of the cabinet and heating it up.  Are you excited about it?  Not really, because you have been eating that stuff since you were a little kid and you already know what to expect.  You would be a fool if you did not lay down all your financial assets in betting how this film was going to end.  The smell was as pungent and obvious as a can of freshly opened tuna.  I would like to give credit to the performance of Ricky Gervais.  Although his humor can be criticized as being really dry at times I connected with him throughout.  There was one scene in particular, with his mom, where he truly earned my respect as a benevolent actor. 

Overall, I was glad to have seen the movie, but I could never recommend plopping down your hard earned cash on this one.  Save it for the eventual rental queue or if you must, go see a matinee showing and make sure you are well rested as the movie may have a slower pace than normal for some viewers’ personal preferences.  And since I cannot tell a lie, I would analogize my viewing experience as being a little bit Cohen Brothers’ Burn After Reading-like with a love story sandwiched in between a couple funny  Evan Almighty-like moments.  The movie had a strong underlying message, but it failed to captivate this hard to please critic.  (Grade: C+)

 The Invention of Lying opens nationwide this Friday, October 2nd.

The Invention of Lying Theatrical Poster

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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