Movie Review : The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais is one of my favourite British comedian. I first saw the First Season of The Office (UK) some years back and it was a much more painful show to watch than the American version. There were many baffling silences and awkward moments that even some of my English friends wouldn’t watch it – it was a bit too close to reality for them.

Ricky Gervais followed up with his Office success with “Extra”, another painful comedy series of him being an extra on the entertainment industry in UK. Another painful show with many equally awkward and pitiful twists. I have to say his ability to laugh at himself and showcase the raw human emotions are astounding.

I watch alot of his movies because I have grown to love his work. His appearance on The Night at the Museum with Ben Stiller was one of the worst I have seen of his work. Ghost Town was good, I must say. The Invention of Lying is another good work by this comedian.

Starring opposite Jennifer Gardner must be one of the dreams come true for him. I remember an old interview I saw of him where he reminisce about his struggling actor days living in a small flat in London. He truly has come a long way.

This movie starts off setting the storyline for you. This is a world where lying does not exist or have never been invented. Everyone tells the truth. If you’re having a bad day when someone ask you how you are, you simply reply, “I am having the worst day and I want to kill myself.” which is the truth!

Nobody lies and the world is just (to me) really inappropriate and weird when everyone speaks the truth. Even the TV commercials speaks the truth. No big branding or fancy slogans, just a man talking to you about the fact that Coke is filled with sugar and bad for your health, but you are asked to buy it, because it’s popular! WTF?

There are no movies either, because fantasy / fiction does not exist. So movies are generally documentaries that are dictated. Not even re-enacted. Just a plain guy sitting on a chair telling you the facts. Yes, I know how boring that would be.

So one day, the broke character played by Ricky Gervais, lost his job and needed money to pay rent before he’s evicted from his apartment. Without giving out the storyline, he discovered how to lie at the lowest point in his life. He continued to lie and became a huge phenomenon when everyone thought he was a prophet who knew things that no one else does.

What was intriguing for me was when he fibbed about life after death. He then came about creating a whole story about “The Man in the Sky” (aka God) and the corresponding Heaven and Hell. Of course, in the context of this movie, it was all a fictional tale of his imagination. The whole word stood still to listen to him talk about “The Man in the Sky” who decides your fate after death and how one could end up being in Heaven (a beautiful place in the clouds where you’re with your loved ones and everybody gets a Mansion).

As I’m watching the movie, I wonder how the Catholic church reacted to the connotations of the movie. Geoff quickly Googled about the controversy of the movie and true enough – they didn’t like it.

Which brings me to the recent political / religious debates in Malaysia on using the word “Allah” to describe God in Bahasa in a Catholic publication. I am fascinated how Hollywood or movies can create a movie or depict such a fictional story about God and the afterlife with the right amount of Freedom of Speech. If this movie were ever made in Malaysia. It would not have passed the censorship board. In fact, it would never get the funding it needed to start production!

I have to also point out a similar debate in US. Recently, the US Congress approved a Census form that allowed the use of the word “Negro” in the Ethnicity column. Read about it here on Perez Hilton and watch the video of the interview with a US Congressman about the issue. I absolutely love the Congressman’s reply to the issue. He said,

We have a much bigger fish to fry in our country than to worry about something like this in America.

I love it.

Sorry, went off-topic a bit there.

Anyways, back to the movie. I rate it a 4 out of 5 stars for the hilarious storyline. I applaud the idea of the movie. It’s not exactly the best movie of the year, mind you but a good watch nevertheless.

To end it all, check out also this funny appearance for Ricky Gervais on Sesame Street that pissed off some parents. Ricky appeared on “Celebrity Lullaby” section for Sesame Street, singing about the letter “N” to Elmo. Parents were unhappy, apparently because of the hidden meaning of “the letter N”. *sigh* People are so sensitive sometimes.

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