Monday, October 05, 2009

"The Invention of Lying" (2009) - Movie Review

Ricky Gervais can say anything with a humour undiscovered by many. He holds that cheeky English curve into it and leverages on the silences following the dismal showing of behaviour the character he poses. He keeps it to minimum in “The Invention of Lying” the film he co-directs with Matthew Robinson and acts the Mark Bellison, the loser in a land where the word “lie” has not yet come out.

The world without lies and deceit is a pipe line dream for a realist but I have not really thought about the pleasure we would be missing out. Fiction of most struck me with big surprise in this alternate reality Gervais brings upon. Here the biggest block buster film is a literary reading about the factual discovery of the centuries. And in this too, there are terrible screenplays and Mark writes those. It is told that Mark as his fellow citizens of this small town are impulsive to speak their mind.

“The Invention of Lying” has an intelligent premise. Today at work my colleague hearing about it told me that it is an opposite of “Liar Liar” which is true but as much formulaic Jim Carrey’s flick was, this defies those and yet not comes close to the perfection. In this town, women cannot control their shallowness and men cannot control their sexist mind (add shallow too). In between those we have a place where things are very clear and murky for middle aged single men like Mark.

Mark tries to date Anna (Jennifer Garner) clearly out of his reach and she says so. Despite these blunt truths, the people does not emote the feeling of being hurtful and being hurt. The average Joes in the film shows sadness and lonely despair they are left to face but arrogant and powerful person like Brad Kessler (Rob Lowe), the nemesis of Mark in the screenplay department are plainly merciless. So they are their characters but even the beautiful Anna seems to be not concerned rather being helpless about their daily life of blurting potent truths.

Mark’s days are getting worse with being fired from the job and a dying mother (Fionnula Flanagan). Adding to that is that his landlord giving him an ultimatum, either pay the rent or get evicted. When Mark is standing in front of the bank cashier to close his account, something strikes him and he cannot explain but he tells something which is not really there. He lies that he has 800$ in his account and the teller sees the computer mentioning 300$. And she believes the man than the machine. Those are the undercurrents of props pointing the technology belief this century has arrived to rely upon. In fact the word “lie” is not there and the phenomenon cannot be explained by Mark himself.

Mark does go on a flurry of fantasy using this power and comes soon to the realization that he cannot use it to bad cause. Something a formula film takes on the whole duration and Gervais decides to take this a different direction, an alternate theory of the existence of the invisible man, god. The human race in the film cannot speak about something they do not know and hence the unknown after the death remains that way without speculation until Mark does something. In her final breaths, his mother is terrified by the idea of unknown and Mark formulates the afterlife. The doctor and nurses around him are blown away by this knowledge and soon the word navigates to make him the messenger. You see where this is going and Gervais while making an atheist agenda also proposes a theory we could think and invoke our brains upon.

“The Invention of Lying” is funny in parts, philosophical overall and good as a whole. What it misses is the full time comic commitment from Gervais. While the movie as said has a premise and story which is more than an average comedy, the momentum keeps missing. The emotional bonding between Mark and Anna can be said something like that wherein there could have been more convincing conversation than the philosophy of prejudice Mark teaches upon. Ricky Gervais aims for high but falls a little short of perfection. Still “The Invention of Lying” is a good comedy with lot of thought to chew upon.

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