October 14, 2009

Lies lies lies yeah


The Invention of Lying is a highly original comedy co-written and co-directed by the very funny Ricky Gervais. It is set in a world where the human race has not developed the ability to lie. Until Mark Bellison's (Gervais) life unravels, and he becomes the first liar. (Why don't I hear Rep. Joe Wilson yelling out?)

It was interesting to see what kind of a place we'd all be living in if everyone told the absolute truth. I was laughing out loud at some of the brutally honest statements, some of which were totally unsolicited and unwarranted. And yet beneath the laughter, there was a level of discomfiture because you know how hurtful and insulting the words are. Of course our cast of characters ( Louis C.K., Jonah Hill, Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Jennifer Garner and Jeffrey Tambor) don't feel it, because in their reality, this was the norm.

Things take a turn for the worse (or the better depending on how you look at it) when Mark's mother falls ill. The movie steps into religious satire as Bellison tells of a Man-in-the-Sky who controls the universe, and becomes some sort of a story-teller/messiah. The romantic comedy aspect of the film feels a bit forced so I will not discuss it. But I'm fascinated by the religious implications.

Now I heard some religious groups found the movie offensive. I also read that Mr. Gervais is an atheist. But I'm not sure his intent was to say that organized religion is a lie. I think he only meant to tell us how a white lie can either be harmful, or necessary, depending on the circumstances. The filmmakers only wanted to show us how powerful lies, and conversely, the truth, can be.

Look out for fun cameos from Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stephanie March, John Hodgman and Edward Norton.

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