The Invention of Lying: On the origins of specious trickery
By CHRIS KNIGHT - NATIONAL POST
Added: Sun, 04 Oct 2009 23:00:00 UTC
Film Review: The Invention of Lying (3 stars)
The ad campaign for The Invention of Lying is not a complete fabrication, but it's not telling the whole truth either. Trailers and posters will have you anticipating a romantic comedy starring Jennifer Garner and that fat bloke from Britain's The Office and Extras. (Truth be told, his name is Ricky Gervais.) You might also look forward to cameos from such comic actors as Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and Jason Bateman.
You'll get all that, of course, but what you might not expect (and what I'm here to proclaim as fact) is a fascinating atheistic viewpoint that not only runs through the movie but drives the plot forward. The Invention of Lying was co-written and co-directed by Gervais and Matthew Robinson, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens listed in the credits as script consultants.
The film posits a world where no one lies. More to the point, no one can conceive of lying. Neither the word nor the concept exists. Everyone tells the truth, and (for comedic effect) the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you think someone is fat, ugly or boring, you're pretty much obliged to tell them. If someone asks how you are, you can only answer "fine" if it's how you really feel.