The Fractured Mirror entry: The Invention of Lying (2009)
3 months ago
– Thu, Sep 07, 2023 at 05:13:44 PM
The Invention of Lying (2009)
The Ricky Gervais vehicle The Invention of Lying takes place in a soul-crushing universe where everyone is excessively blunt and honest because lying does not exist. Because no one has ever uttered a falsehood the movie industry is decidedly different. What are generously deemed movies consist of someone delivering factual information about the past directly into the camera.
Rickey Gervais plays Mark Bellison, a sad loser of a screenwriter who is as hopeless as a filmmaker as he is every other aspect of his miserable little life. Mark’s existence changes forever when he makes the revolutionary realization that he can get other people to do what he wants by telling lies since people will invariably believe him no matter what he says.
When Mark tells his dying mother that when she dies she’ll receive a mansion in the sky and experience boundless joy forever it changes the world profoundly. The unemployed screenwriter is seen as a prophet with all of life’s answers. His screenwriting career takes off and he's rich, famous and powerful but remains a depressing little shit.
Jennifer Garner has the uniquely thankless role of Anna McDoogles, an executive Mark is hopelessly in love with because she’s conventionally attractive. She does not reciprocate his affections because he’s plain looking. Anna is an awful, shallow sadist yet she’s also the female romantic lead. For the sake of gender equality The Invention of Lying has an equally terrible male romantic lead in Gervais, whose character is ugly on the inside as well as the outside.
The Invention of Lying feels weirdly analogous to Gervais’ unfortunate sideline as a stand-up comedian in its casual cruelty, pronounced anti-religious bent, contempt for the mouth-breathing masses and weird obsession with being overweight. The Invention of Lying gets the laugh to cruelty ratio all wrong in that it's bracingly nasty throughout and only intermittently amusing, let alone funny.