The Invention of Lying: The Review

What happens if you lied in a world where lying was unheard of?

How will you use it? Will you use it for good or will you exploit for evil?


The Story: Modern-day Earth... but with a few kinks. Here, there is no such thing as “lying”. People saw life a la Gattaca... only minus the leotards, a brainwasher, and murders. Then came a guy who is a loser who just got evicted and is about to lose his apartment. In a moment of weakness, he stumbles on “lying”.

And the rest was history.

What I Liked: I am a fan of Ricky Gervais. While playing David Brent in the UK version of The Office, he is an insensitive tool. Here, he is a smart, warm, kind, and loving human being who sees things differently. They played around one grand idea which is he is the guy that INVENTED lying in that world. It was simple. It had avenues for growth. It was basically an idea goldmine writers take for granted. Jennifer Garner is known for her TV work in Alias but as seen in Valentine’s Day, she can be a good romantic actress. At the start, we saw the world they were brought in as tactless, sarcastic, and mean. Rob Lowe played the dashing anti-hero that he could have perfected as the years rolled. When Gervais’ character opened the realm of lying, it brought to us the opportunities it offered, the kindness it brought, the hope and faith it gave the lacking world and the misdealing it could plague. I am really opposed of the whole “using Catholicism or religion as tool for comedic or end-of-the-world destruction devices” but the way it was used here wasn’t ugly.

What I Hated: Language barriers were blurred. While most of the world can’t really understand British English, I knew that the movie was set in London and yet Gervais was the only interesting character that speaks with a British accent. Garner, Lowe, the Lucky Louie guy, Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, Jonah Hill, Jason Bateman, and even Gervais’ mom in the story never really had the accent. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Edward Norton, two cameos had better accents than most characters in the film. The hilarity dropped at the end part of the story which reminded me Korean movies. Gervais could only do much romance when he’s paired up with robotic characters and it showed during the final scenes. The growing beard thing was something that they could do without. It’s like I’m seeing Evan Almighty, whose lead, Steve Carell, is Gervais’ employees since he is the executive producer of The Office. And finally, I never thought the ugly versus beauty thing was that big until the characters saw it as a caste system. At the start of the film, they all had decisions... they are capable of decision-making to the utmost extent but in the end, Garner was torn in relying on her gut feel. Which brings me to this: at the end of the story, Gervais’ character was normal but Garner evolved with him but she just doesn’t realize this? The flaw of the end part was Garner not speaking her mind. Gervais noticed it when he kind of “robbed” the bank, but the usually tactless Garner character failed to notice her sudden “keeping mum” attitude? What if they just made Garner realize her “transformation” and make her fight out the fact that she’s now lying... which could be a better way to go with the climax.

The Verdict: Make no mistake, this was an enjoyable film. I just hoped they further fine-tuned the end. This is what Hollywood is lacking these days – the importance of having one great idea, and putting a story around it.

Game over.


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