By Colleen Cunha
Tonight, when you lie in bed and reflect on your day, try and figure out how many times you lied. You told your friend you ate dinner already, told your professor that you did the reading assignment, and you told your mother that you stayed in on Friday night. Now imagine a world where no one lies, ever.
This is the basis of the new film The Invention of Lying starring, co-written, co-directed, and co-produced by Ricky Gervais. Gervais’ character, Mark Bellison, is from a world like this and is a victim of brutal honesty everywhere he goes until one day, in order to keep himself from being evicted, he tells the world’s first lie. He uses this newfound skill to turn his life around in a comical manner, resurrecting his career and getting closer and closer to the woman of his dreams, Anna McDoogles, played by Jennifer Garner.
Gervais and Garner are great in the film, along with the rest of the cast, which includes plenty of subtle cameos by actors like Jason Bateman and Edward Norton. And although characters played by big names Tina Fey and Jonah Hill aren’t huge parts of the film, they make the story complete and keep the movie rounded. The Invention of Lying manages to include numerous comical scenes with smaller characters that keep the laughs coming while still focusing on the difficulties in Bellison’s life and his new ability to con others through lying.
The story is well put together and engaging. It manages to touch on the little things that people might lie about in everyday life, like a homeless man’s plea for money. They also going as far to flirt with the idea of religion. The writers did a remarkable job at creating a friendly parody of God; their references are funny without being offensive. The story gives an explanation of “the big man in the sky” and simplifies the idea of religion but doesn’t discount God. The little lies throughout the film help the viewer remember that this isn’t our world, and they make the bigger lies more believable by keeping the audience in this fantasy mindset. The writers, through these inventive lies, keep the whole idea of the story afloat and the entire movie comical without losing the viewer in any specific, drawn out side story.
The plot was very clever without becoming pointless. Even small, quick jokes tended to relate themselves to the narrative. The ending (without giving anything away) works well with the rest of the movie; it’s not too over-the-top but still gives the viewer a sense of closure.
Colleen Cunha is a freshman cinema and photography major. E-mail her at [email protected]