Review: The Invention of Lying

Rebecca Neumann

Staff Writer

The Invention of Lying is a movie about an alternate reality where no one lies. Seriously. No one lies at all. People actually answer truthfully when someone asks “How are you?” It’s strange and difficult to get used to, but the writer, director and star of the movie, Ricky Gervais, makes honesty hilarious.

Mark Bellison (Gervais) is a down-on-his-luck screenplay writer. He goes on a very bad date, his mother is sick and he gets fired from his job. After being threatened with eviction, Bellison goes to the bank to empty his account. But when the teller asks him how much money he has, he discovers that he has the ability to lie and asks for more money than he has, effectively cheating the system. With his newfound talent, he exploits the naiveté of everyone around him to gain money and fame.

The Invention of Lying is laugh-out-loud funny and smart, unlike many “comedies” out in theaters now. Few scenes include slapstick humor. Instead, the film relies more on situational humor rather than outrageousness. It is well-written and the cast is amazing, including such stars as Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman and Jeffrey Tambor, masters of the straight face.   

The movie is funny, but it does touch on some sensitive issues when Bellison lies and says that there is “a man in the sky” (God) who controls everything. Many people are even boycotting the movie due to, they say, its “anti-Christian” themes. Indeed, Gervais is a self-proclaimed atheist, but he insists that it is not the point of the movie. I still liked seeing the film, but The Invention of Lying made me think too much. I found myself questioning beliefs that I had never questioned before and that made me uncomfortable. But truly, if the only fault the movie has is being too convincing, it’s the sign of a great movie.                                     

I would recommend this movie for anyone who doesn’t mind having to think about a joke before laughing at it. It takes some mental work to enjoy this movie, but it is definitely worth it.       

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