Movie: ‘The Invention of Lying’
On DVD: Jan. 19, 2010
Director: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, including some sexual material and a drug reference
Film Gecko Rating:
‘The Invention of Lying’ is a sweet little movie – not particularly funny, but sweet with a nice message: we need to look beyond the surface of people to see what they’re really like inside.
It stars Ricky Gervais, the award-winning creator and star of the original BBC series "The Office" and HBO’s "Extras," as Mark, a down-on-his-luck loser who lives in an alternate reality where lying — even the concept of a lie — does not exist. Everyone — from politicians to advertisers to regular joes — speaks the truth.
I often dream about this concept, where we could just say what’s on our minds without thinking about the consequences, but of course, it has its downfalls. For one thing, people can be horribly hurt when you just come out and say what you think of them.
When Mark snags a date with Anna (Jennifer Garner), she has no problem telling her mom on the phone exactly what she thinks of him – he’s short and snub-nosed and there’s no way she’s going to sleep with him, not now or ever. Keep in mind that Mark is sitting across the table from her.
If that’s not depressing enough, Mark loses his job writing screenplays for the “Lecture Film” company, because his era is the 1300’s and the only thing that ever happened during this time is awful stuff like the Black Plague.
The trailer made it seem like “The Invention of Lying” would be funny, but it’s really more of a thoughtful, philosophical film. Like what happens after we die? What role does faith play in our lives? How important is it to be kind to others? And if NOT saying what you really feel is lying, then some of us need to do more of that, out of respect for others’ feelings.
In supporting roles are Jonah Hill as Frank, Mark’s suicidal neighbor; Louis C.K. as Greg, another loser type whom Mark befriends; Jeffrey Tambor as Anthony, Mark’s boss who’s tasked with the job of firing him, even though he doesn’t want to; Rob Lowe as Brad, a co-worker who’s riding through life on his good lucks and breeding genes; and Tina Fey as Mark’s secretary. It seems like a funny little role for Fey, as she’s so big in TV and films, but whatever. She does a good job with it, as do all of the supporting players.
If you’re a fan of Ricky Gervais or any of the other players, this movie is worth a look. I saw it with my 12-year-old daughter, and while there’s a bit of sex talk here and there, it’s nowhere near as suggestive as many PG-13 movies. I’d say it’s ok for kids 12 and up.
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