The Invention of Lying 2009 Movie Scene Ricky Gervais as Mark and Jonah Hill as Frank in an elevator

The Invention of Lying [2009]

Can you make a movie based on a single premise? The answer is yes, yes you can but only if you’re a great writer. And Ricky Gervais is one of the best and I love his style of comedy. However, his directing skills are not the best but more about that later. The Invention of Lying is an intelligent and amusing comedy definitely worth watching. Laced with cynicism and satire, it explores our society by presenting to us the one where everybody tells the truth all the time. We have a tendency to forget just how much we lie in our daily lives. We tell little and big lies without much thought.

And right away I also have to say that we think of lying as something bad. However, sometimes lies become necessary, especially when you don’t have any other choice. It’s interesting to think about these situations and their moral implication. And if you’re all for truth all the time, just watch this movie and see if that changes your opinion. Although The Invention of Lying is a thought-provoking movie, it requires almost zero effort. It’s pacey and well-structured with a running time of just over ninety minutes.

Just to get back a bit to that directing style, I feel that some of the scenes are overdrawn. Sometimes it’s hard to find that path between coming off as pretentious and offering insightful and funny commentary. Usually, it’s good to have someone who’s going to tell you when you need to focus on someone or something else. For example, just one year earlier Ricky starred in a comedy Ghost Town that was perfectly balanced. Despite these flaws, The Invention of Lying is still a good movie you should check out. If for nothing else than to see how our world would look like if everyone told the truth.

Meet Mark Bellison, a failed screenwriter who’s about to lose his job. Nobody likes him and they’re not afraid to tell that to his face. Frustrated and at the end of his wits, Mark has a revelation. What if he simply didn’t tell the truth all the time? What if he just lied? After hitting rock bottom, it would appear that Mark is now shooting for the stars. And it even looks like he’s going to get the girl he’s in love with. However, there’s always something that’s going to spoil his plans…

The Invention of Lying answers how many of our activities would look like if everyone told the truth. Just imagine your first date where she or he keeps telling you exactly what’s going on. Like I just took a huge dump because I was nervous. You can look at the movie as a series of sketches with this single powerful idea tying them all up together. Apart from Ricky, we’ve got a lot of other familiar faces in a bit smaller roles than we’re used to. Jennifer Garner was great as the love interest but we also have Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., and hilariously funny Jeffrey Tambor.

Of course, being an atheist, Ricky couldn’t help exploring religion and offering a couple of interesting insights. I know that some people might find this even offensive but if your faith is that fragile, well, then, I don’t know what to tell you. Full disclosure here, I’m also an atheist and I found this whole religion subplot hilarious. Moreover, it offered clues to how organized religion sprung out into existence without offending anyone.

Directors: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Writers: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Rob Lowe

Fun Stuff: The original title of the movie was “This Side Of The Truth”.


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