The story of the fantasy comedy film ‘The Invention of Lying’ takes place in an alternative reality where humans have never evolved the ability to tell a lie. There is no concept of deception.
In this world, people have everything as normal like jobs, cars, houses, and families, but everyone tells the absolute truth. There is no such thing as deceiving or flattery or fiction; people say exactly what they think and sometimes that can come across to be a bit harsh, but they have no choice in that – it’s in their nature.
‘The Invention of Lying’ follows an ordinary man Mark Bellison (played by Ricky Gervais) who lives in a small town. Once he discovers how to lie and ends up using it to make his life and the world a better place. The movie starts with some interesting scenes where everyone speaks the truth deliberately without thinking about others.
After getting fired from his job, this fat, chubby and boring Mark finds himself short on cash and ends up lying the bank teller about the amount of money he has in his account. In a world where it is believed that everyone speaks the truth, he gets the money he needed. But he also realizes his newfound ability which will help him gain fame, fortune and possibly a better relationship with the woman of his dreams (played by Jennifer Garner).
While he finds that his invention of lying has made the people around him happier and more at peace, eventually his escalating fabrication of events and his deliberate act of deviating from the truth turns him into someone as an interpreter of the will of God for a changing world.
Overall, ‘The Invention of Lying’ is a satire with unique and original humor. With Mark’s lies such as “Man on the Sky” (for God) and “the good place” (for Heaven), the movie somehow mocks God, faith, belief, morality, and religion, while sending out a message that telling a lie is good.
Nevertheless, it’s all for good humor but somehow failed to explain further what constitutes truth and what constitutes lie other than those fibs. The premise is great but probably we needed more bold statements, although it is in ways entertaining and amusing, if not an exceptional comedy.
Director: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey
Written by: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
Cinematography: Tim Surhstedt
Release Date/Year: September 14, 2009 (TIFF); October 2, 2009 (United States)