In an alternate reality, lying -- even the concept of a lie -- does not even exist. Everyone -- from politicians to advertisers to the man and woman on the street -- speaks the truth and nothing but the truth with no thought of the consequences. But when a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards. In a world where every word is assumed to be the absolute truth, Mark easily lies his way to fame and fortune. But lies have a way of spreading, and Mark begins to realize that things are getting a little out of control when some of his tallest tales are being taken as, well, gospel. With the entire world now hanging on his every word, there is only one thing Mark has not been able to lie his way into: the heart of the woman he loves.
I have really been having a hard time figuring out how I was going to review this movie. I was raised a certain way and have held on to a specific belief system almost my entire life. Don't get me wrong - not like a robot, blindly following anything and everything I was told. Let's just break it down and be blunt - I'm a Christian. So writing an unbiased review of a movie like The Invention of Lying is going to be near to impossible to do. Oh well.
The Invention of Lying is a combination of two things. For 30 to 40 minutes, it is a pretty cute and funny movie. Then, at about the 40 to 45 minute mark, it becomes an hour or so long Ricky Gervais commercial on why he thinks anybody who believes in God or The Bible are mindless buffoons and simpletons. It shifts from what could have been a smart little movie with some kind of morality tale to becoming a Ricky Gervais' Soapbox for Atheism.
Now, don't get me wrong. It definitely had some funny parts in it. The moment that Gervais figures out how to tell a lie and what he does with it afterwards was both funny and charming. The whole idea of the blockbuster movies made by Lecture Films that are based on true events and read onscreen by some intellectual was hysterical and quite witty. Then, with the scene of the death of his mother, the whole thing just derailed. It's like he decided that it was time to stop being cutesy funny and start up the mean-spirited sarcastic prods at anyone who could actually have the audacity to be stupid enough to think that there's a "Man in the Sky" or a nice place to go to and be with your family after you die.
Ricky Gervais really is a talented actor and comedian. Rob Lowe was great as an extremely stuck-up jerk that has no problem telling the truth about how great he thinks (or knows) he is. Jennifer Garner was alright in her role, but didn't really seem to be able to push her character forward and expand on it.
Here's my problem with the whole thing. This is America. Everyone has the right to believe what they want to. If you want to be an atheist, then be an athiest. Just don't tell me and 80% of the people that are going to go to your movie that we're all stupid because we're not. I mean, how smart is that? That's a good way to make more fans. It's only apparent that the studio even knew what a bad idea Gervais' anti-Christian rant would come across, as there is no trace of it in any of the trailers I've seen anywhere.
The worst part about the whole thing is that it didn't even come across as being smart or intelligent. It was like something in the past made Ricky Gervais mad at God or the Christian religion and now he's going to get his. The whole delivery seemed trite, mean-spirited, and immature. I can tell you this - if a movie was put out by Christians that made fun of atheists in this manner, the atheists would never let the Christians here the end of it. The movie would be boycotted and marched upon. (Review by Eric Shirey)