Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Jeffery Tambor, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey

Matthew Robinson

Running Time:
100 mins

"Our children could be fat with snub noses"

Imagine a world were no one has ever told a lie. There is dishonesty, no little white lies and people say everything that is on their minds, however bad it is. In this world, no one thinks of another person’s feelings been completely honest about how they look, what they think of them and what they would like to do to them. For Mark Bellison (Gervais) life was especially hard as he was a short, slightly fat, snub-nosed man who no one really liked and people thought nothing of telling him so. Everything was about to change for Mark however, when he says something that isn’t true.

With hit TV shows ‘The Office’ and ‘Extras’ propelling him to stardom around the world, British comedian Ricky Gervais has transferred his talents to the big screen but will ‘The Invention of Lying’ show that his talent is one big fib?

The rise of Ricky Gervais to superstardom is one that, for some, been a remarkable transition. Hailed as a comedy genius for his hit TV shows ‘The Office’ and ‘Extras’, which have won numerous awards around the world and made him a huge star. But just under thirty episodes of TV comedy should not bestow the genius label as he hasn’t been able to transfer this onto the big screen.

Making inroads into Hollywood by making supporting appearances in ‘Night at the Museum’, ‘Stardust’, ‘For Your Consideration’, ‘Night at the Museum: Escape from the Smithsonian’, he got his leading man break in ‘Ghost Town’ but none of these roles have set Hollywood alight and allowed him to showcase his undoubted talents. As a co-writer/co-director and star of ‘The Invention of Lying’ might just enable him to do that but unfortunately on this evidence the genius label is one big lie.

The movie takes place in a world where nobody has ever told a lie. Here people are completely honest, telling you what they think, admitting if they have done something wrong, hate you or fancy you. Consequently, there is no fiction, everything is factual with movies just factual recounts of history but with no actors, just a reader reading the script to the audience. Controversially there is also no religion and this is the main plot point that will gain the movie much more coverage than it deserves.

When the lead character Mark Bellison, played by Ricky Gervais discovers that he can actually say something that isn’t correct, he, of course, takes this to the extreme and uses his newly found talent to become rich, get himself a mansion and become the most famous screenwriter in the world by making up stories. This is funny enough but when Mark’s mother is dying and afraid of spending an eternity in darkness, Mark tells her that everything is going to be fine and she will go to a place of eternal bliss where she will be with all of her loved ones. This means that Mark has invented the afterlife, the cornerstone of all religious beliefs but Gervais doesn’t stop there. The character then goes onto create God, hell and the ten commandments. While comedies with religion at its centre are nothing new, the fact that this plot element wasn’t even hinted at during the advertising campaign could cause offence to anyone with any religious beliefs.

This results in ‘The Invention of Lying’ trying to be a little too clever and controversial to raise Ricky Gervais into that genius spotlight again, even though he has gathered together a great cast and some fun cameos. While the conclusion is good and well thought out, it is the religious aspects of the plot that will be the talking point and, to be honest, the movie isn’t good enough to warrant this, making you think that Ricky Gervais’s greatness might just be a lie.

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Ghost Town

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