The Invention of Lying
Director: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Rob Lowe, Tina Fey, Christopher Guest, Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Jason Bateman
Ricky Gervais’ (co-)directorial debut is set in a world where nobody is able to tell a lie or make up stories which have not happened. He plays Mark Bellison, a plump loser who discovers that by lying he can get anything he wants, except his dream girl, it seems. This reverse Liar, Liar premise is clever, but it doesn’t hold water. The inability to lie and the compulsion to think out loud are surely not the same thing. The comedy includes some subversive moments, especially when Bellison dreams up religion in a moment of despair, but the results are never more than mildly funny. In the second half, the film turns into a conventional romcom, but it’s difficult to root for the mismatched couple, neither one of whom looks beyond the surface. She repeatedly calls him fat, and he doesn’t mind as long as she takes him.