Everyone has told a lie at some point in their life. It is part of our human nature to fudge the truth a little bit. We are told when we are younger to never tell a lie (just like George Washington). As we get older we find out that it is not always possible to tell the truth all the time, and most have their own reasons for lying; some do it to impress others, some do it to protect someone’s feelings. In certain situations, a lie can be a good thing but in others, one can be devastating.
What if we lived in a world that could only tell the truth? What if everyone went around telling everyone else exactly what they thought of them? Think of the impact it would make on all facets of our daily lives. Areas such as politics and sports would be forever changed. It would certainly make law enforcement’s job a lot easier. No more polygraph tests to solve the crime, you would just have to ask if the person was guilty or not and they would spill the beans.
This is the concept behind the quirky new comedy The Invention of Lying (the film’s original title was This Side of the Truth). The film is set on an Earth very different from our own. Invention‘s Earth is one where lying hasn’t been invented yet. Everyone only knows how to tell the truth. Ricky Gervais plays Mark, a guy who works in the entertainment industry as a writer. He works in an entertainment industry where unlike our own, people tell only fact-based stories. This all sounds pretty boring, until one day Mark creates the world’s first fib. After discovering the world’s first lie, Mark uses his new “power” for his own gain.
The film was written and directed by Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson. Gervais rose to fame by creating the British version of “The Office,” and since then has both starred in or written several TV shows and movies. His most recent foray into acting on the big screen was last year’s Ghost Town, which I didn’t see, as it looked very middle of the road. But he was amazing as self-absorbed boss David Brent, on the UK version of “The Office” (his part is played by Steve Carrell in the U.S. adaptation). The Invention of Lying also stars Jonah Hill (Superbad), Jennifer Garner (“Alias”), Rob Lowe (“The West Wing”) and Tina Fey (Baby Mama).
This movie shares a lot in common with other high concept comedies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and the upcoming Cold Souls. All three of these movies take regular ideas which we take for granted and seemingly flip them on their head. Considering the box office for Ghost Town was more akin to that film’s title than the producers probably would have hoped, and Invention‘s plot, I’m not sure that it will be very profitable. Its gross will probably land close to the $27 million domestic total of Ghost Town. Just look at mindless fluff like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, that’s where all the money is these days, not in small comedies such as this. I personally am looking forward to The Invention of Lying. It has a very talented cast of comedic actors, and a smart concept that looks to yield plenty of laughs. Count me in for this one.
The Invention of Lying opens September 25th.