Running Time: 1 hr. 40 min.
Release Date: October 2nd, 2009 (wide)
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language including some sexual material and a drug reference.
Distributors: Warner Bros. Pictures Distribution
Directed by: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
JJ Rating: B+
In this world humans never evolved the technique of lying. Everyone tells the blunt honest truth of what they are thinking or have done, therefore they believe whatever someone else says because they, of course, cannot lie. They don’t even have the word “lie” in their vocabulary. Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) ends up accidentally, though sheer desperation, telling the first lie and then things snowballed from there. The Invention of Lying.
I, being a time nitpicky person, have to state that I really liked the concept of this movie. I also really like many aspects of the film itself including the cast. I like many of the scenes, but the one problem I do have is that it was a little long and I felt it. The bad part is that I don’t know exactly how they could have shore it up. Ricky Gervais does a really great job with the bumbling idiot moments and there are a few of them, but to lose that would just take away from the charm of the entire film. I just felt it could have been shorter and it would have packed a more powerful punch.
This is my interpretation of the film, so I could be wrong, but I really liked how the script hit religion and evolution in the balls. To me it feels like they were making some valid points about each in a satirical manner. The religious one is very apparent. The evolution one is a little more subtle but it’s there. I tend to have a problem with how films make fun of religion because they don’t differentiate between religion and God, they tend to try to hit two birds and one stone which totally distracts from some valid points they could have. They use angels as if they are imbecilic and have no clue what humans do on Earth. Even if one doesn’t believe that they exist, based on whatever “facts” they have, they could at least realize that based on the information provided that it would be impossible for them to be as naïve as the angel in City of Angels when he comes upon thieves.
I liked how The Invention of Lying dealt with making fun of religion because it kept God out of it by name and by mere mention (because just like lying they don‘t have a term for him). It showed how one man’s interpretation could control so many. It’s interesting and funny how they came about presenting that.
Some people think that they’d want to hear someone speak the truth all the time or whatever was on their minds at that moment on that topic that is being spoken about, but they fail to realize what that might entail. Even though this film is an exaggeration of that it still shows that hearing the truth all the time would not be nearly as refreshing as one might think. One of the many things I didn’t think of was the question “How are you doing today?” or “How do are you feeling?” That question is a courtesy question that doesn’t require a whole lot of detail. That is, unless you’re part of this world’s not lying. In the Invention of Lying’s world the character will tell you how they feel and it’s the truth. If this world we lived in was based on telling the truth at all times there would be far too much negativity. Anyway I really love the philosophical aspect of this film. It’s very intriguing.
Another great thing about The Invention of Lying is the cast. Ricky Gervais is a funny guy and he’s a great actor and as this film points out he’s also a great half of a director team. I think he did a pretty good job handling both. I had a good time seeing it. One would not think it but him and Jennifer Garner have awesome chemistry. They were really, really great together. I found her so attractive in this roll. She looked hot in Elektra but here she just had that spark that just kept my attention every second she was on the screen. Her smile, her gesturers, her total demeanor. She did a great job totally embodying the character. She has scenes where she’s willing but there is a battle that she wages in her head with what she almost wants to do and what she’s doing, and that could be seen in her facial expressions. I know how subjective this is but I think that she did such a great job that her getting an Oscar nod wouldn’t be too far fetched. Maybe winning might be, but getting that nomination shouldn’t be.
Then there were the endless cameos. I love cameos. There’s one in Zombieland and that one is pretty freakin’ fantastic and there is a whole section in Funny People that had them. But in Funny People even though that part was funny it didn’t help the film. In The Invention of Lying it was boosted by the cameos because, for me, they were unexpected and the actors were great.
There are lots of funny moments that I enjoyed. The way they showed how films would be was funny. Creativity would kind of be stifled with the truth having to be told and all. The other great thing was how commercials would be. I was amazed at who wanted to tell the truth just to be in the film promoting their product and the fact that they got both of them was even more amazing: Coke and Pepsi.
I would have loved to see what a court room would have looked like without lying, as well as a political election process.
The Invention of Lying isn’t a typical movie that people are use to seeing. It’s not a comedy that many would find that funny. It’s sad that that’s how it is. Missing out on something that is really interesting and thought provoking like The Invention of Lying but enjoying the totally brain dead film like Fast and Furious is telling of the times. The more that I see how some films are well received and how others are not, it makes me think that Idiocracy is becoming truer and truer every Box Office reveal.