The Invention of Lying
takes place in an alternate reality in which lying--even the concept of a lie--does not exist. Everyone--from politicians and advertisers to the man and woman on the street--speaks the truth and nothing but the truth, with no thought of the consequences. When a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark Bellison (Gervais) 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. The Invention of Lying
stars Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor and Fionnula Flanagan, with Rob Lowe and Tina Fey.
It's official: Ricky Gervais is a genius. He may not have cured cancer or discovered a new branch of mathematics, but having created The Office
, and now The Invention of Lying
has secured him a place in the history of comedy. The Invention of Lying
imagines a world in which everyone unfailingly tells the truth; they don't even know what fiction is. Every thought, however humiliating or harsh, tumbles out unvarnished. Then one day, a desperate unemployed writer named Mark (Gervais) concocts a lie--and in a world where everyone is unfailingly honest, a lie is believed with total and absolute gullibility. Mark can get anything he wants...but the one thing he truly wants is the love of a girl named Anna (Jennifer Garner, Alias
), and she's the one person he can't bring himself to lie to.
The Invention of Lying balances a brilliant overall idea with inspired comic bits and deft cameo turns by a star-studded cast (among the many famous faces in bit roles are Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Jason Bateman, Christopher Guest, Tina Fey, Jeffrey Tambor, and more). The second half of the movie, which follows Mark's romantic pursuit of Anna, isn't quite as marvelous as the gradual unfolding of the situation and Mark's grappling with his strange new ability, but that doesn't keep the movie from being a unique and dazzling comedy. Simply not to be missed. Also featuring comedian Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, and Jonah Hill. --Bret Fetzer