The Invention of Lying (2009)

The Invention of Lying (2009) — Solidly entertaining.  Also surprisingly more sentimental than I would have expected.  The Office was one of the bleakest sitcoms I ever watched (though I suppose it did have a happy ending) and Ricky Gervais’s standup routine has a bit about AIDS (hilarious, by the way).  He’s not someone I ever expected to be particularly sentimental.  But it is.  There’s a lot in there about loving people despite their shortcomings and all that mushy touchy-feely stuff.  And that works okay.  But the humor in the movie comes mostly from people saying out loud the things that people tend not to say out loud.  That’s the big joke in the movie.  Also the way Ricky Gervais uses the ability to lie on people who automatically believe him.  There’s a couple good cameos (one by an Oscar winner) and the acting is all good.  It takes some getting used to because in general when people just say what they’re feeling it’s lazy writing, but here it’s the central premise of the movie.  The movie’s take on religion is somewhat interesting.  The idea that religion is created by the world’s first liar could be taken as something of an insult but the movie also paints it as something that comforts people and gives them hope and guidance in life (albeit something that can be and often is abused by the intellectually lazy).  There’s a decent amount of original stuff going on in this movie and most of it is pretty funny.  It never reaches any kind of level of greatness but I’m not sure it set out to.  It’s just a very clever high concept movie.

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