DVD Review - The Invention of Lying

Imagine a world where everyone tells the truth, all the time.  “Do these jeans make me look fat?  Yes, of course.”    Here’s a typical commercial:  “Hi, I'm Bob.  I'm the spokesperson for the **** -Cola company. I'm here today to ask you to continue buying ****.  Sure it's a drink you've been drinking for years, and if you still enjoy it, I'd like to remind you to buy it again sometime soon.  It's basically just brown sugar water, we haven't changed the ingredients much lately, so there's nothing new I can tell you about that. We changed the can around a little bit though. See, the colors here are different there, and we added a polar bear so the kids like us . **** is very high in sugar and like any high calorie soda it can lead to obesity in children and adults who don't sustain a very healthy diet. So that's it, it's ****. It's very famous, everyone knows it. I'm Bob, I work for ****, and I'm asking you to not stop buying ****. That's all. It's a bit sweet. Thank you.”

In this world, which is exactly like ours, there is no fiction.  Entertainment consists of a droning narrator, played by Christopher Guest, reading history texts.  Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) plays a screenwriter who’s just been fired and has no money to pay his rent.  When he goes to the bank, he tells the teller he wants to take out $300.  Since there is no lying the teller assumes a computer malfunction and gives him the money. Bingo! Mark is on to something.  His mother (Fionnula Flanagan) is dying and terrified so Mark tries to ease her fears by making up a story about life after death.  The nurses overhear and all of a sudden, Mark is a celebrity, with a direct line to the man in the sky he’s just invented.   Mark is a nebbish, short, plump with a stub nose – not high potential genetic material according to his friend, Anna (Jennifer Garner) the girl he loves.  Instead, his main competition for screenwriter and Anna is Brad (Rob Lowe.)  Jonah Hill and Louis C.K play his friends, Jeffrey Tambor his boss and Tina Fey, his backstabbing assistant.

The jokes come from telling the absolute truth in all situations, where in our world, we would make up a social fib or not say anything.  Not so in Mark’s world, and when he lets his “imagination” – new concept, run wild, he writes a screenplay that makes him rich.  But, although Anna feels like he is her best friend, she just can’t see herself having chubby kids with snub noses.

I loved this movie.  It’s rated PG-13, with good reason.  If you can’t tolerate jokes about religion, this is not the movie for you.  For the rest of us, it’s a hoot.  I give it 7 out of 10.