Wednesday, October 7, 2009

why i can't recommend "the invention of lying"

We went to see this Monday on one of our 'day dates' while the kids were at school. *happy sigh* I love our day dates. I was looking forward to a light funny commedy with Ricky Gervais, whom I really enjoy. I haven't seen much with him in it, but what I have seen I've really liked. Plus Jason Bateman plays a bit role in the movie as well and to tell the truth, somewhere along the way in life, I have developed a crush on Jason Bateman. I just have warm fuzzies for the guy.

Anyway, my review is as follows, and beware this review is riddled with spoilers. The idea is that in this particular world, no one can lie, has ever lied, or even knows the notion of lying. Everything everyone says is completely trusted and true. There aren't even words for True, Lie, Honesty, or False. Everything just is.

The first half was really well done. Lots of great humor. Ricky Gervais (Mark) has really effective comedic timing and so you really feel for his underdog character. The things the characters admit to so freely are really funny--for example: Jennifer Garner's character flat out tells Mark of her disappointment in his looks on their blind date. The hostess at a restaurant admits dryly that she is intimidated by Jennifer. When the waiter introduces himself, he admits that he is embarassed that he works there and later, that he took a sip of their drink. All said very dryly without shock to any of the other characters. That part was fun.

At one point, his life goes down the drain--he is fired, he has $300 left in his bank account, and his rent is due so he is about to get evicted. He goes to the bank to close out his account and for some strange reason, he gets the notion to tell the bank teller he has $800, not $300. She doesn't even question him and hands over the full amount. From there, he works his new lying power over everyone.

At first it's all to benefit himself, lying his way back into his job, his apartment, and more. But it doesn't take him long to realize that his lies can help everyone else too. He takes a homeless man into a bank and together they walk out with large sums of money. Mark whispers something to a couple fighting on the street and all of a sudden they embracing and happy. He goes to the nursing home where his mother lives and brightens up the faces of each tenant there by whispering some little lie to each them, making them happy.

So...yeah. It's about lying. Dishonesty. Breaking a commandment. Just wait. It gets worse.

It turns a little deeper when Ricky's Mom is in the hospital and is about to pass away. She expresses her fear about the big dark nothingness of death. This is when Mark, in his attempt to put her mind at ease, makes up this huge 'lie' about an afterlife. He tells her about a 'man in the sky' (God in heaven) who will be there to greet her when she passes and how all her friends will be there when she arrives. How everyone will get mansions in the next life and it will be the most happy place imaginable. She is elated and dies in peace.

Dr. Jason Batemen (*swoon*) and nurses overhear this new information and want to know more. And suddenly the entire planet is begging Mark to tell them all about this man in the sky and the afterlife.

At this point, I lean over to Dan and say, "so in essence, the biggest lie of all is about God, Heaven, and Religion."

From there on out, sacrilege.

He actually writes down all he 'knows' onto pizza boxes (tablets) and displays them to the world (think Moses) as he professes all he knows about this man in the sky. At one point, Mark admits that everything bad comes from this man in the sky (cancer, death, car accidents, earthquakes), to which the crowd starts chanting "f*** the man in the sky!"

Ooookay. So we're not really the type to walk out on movies. I don't think I've ever done it really. I'm more likely to sit and bear my way through it and then complain about it later (obviously) than to let my money go to waste. But this part made us really uncomfortable. He was able to redeem the moment by adding that the man in the sky is also responsible for all the good things in life. Yet, that was pretty much the end for me.

I'd like to say that all this lying gets him in trouble and he realizes that only by telling the truth can he succeed in life. But, there's never really a moment like that. He does become successful, rich, popular, and powerful. But he gets lonely. He does have an opportunity at one point to tell a lie and win the girl, but he doesn't, so I guess that is one redeeming thing about this character. Later this marks a turning point for Mark and of course, happy ending, blah blah blah.

Thus, I can't recommend the movie. The point the writers and directors decided to take in making God and religion such a falsehood just hit a nerve that I can't ignore. I realize it was just a story for fun, but there seems to be quite an underlying motive behind the whole premise to disbelieve anything so wonderful as a loving Father in Heaven who is aware of our every existence.

Have you seen it? What did you think?


Lorie said...

Gervais is an outspoken Atheists. I was looking forward to seeing the movie until I read a review in Entertainment Weekly that said the marketing successfully hid the atheist undertones.

Which is sad, because it could have been so funny!

Anonymous said...

Holy cow, I almost saw that movie but I won't support that trash. Gotta love Hollywood right? We are all gun toting nuts that believe in fairy tales. Sigh.... We saw Surrogates instead and it was a good movie, interesting at least. Wait to rent it or borrow it from the library. It's short so it raps up everything quickly and I would have liked to see it go on a bit. Anyhow, there you are!


Anonymous said...

Oh, BTW, if you leave and complain you didn't like the movie they'll give you tickets to another movie you can redeem anytime. I had to walk out on one and that's what they did for me.


Carrie said...

Thankfully, I heard about "the big lie" before I forked over my money for this garbage. Too bad. I think Ricky Gervais is hysterical.

wittygal said...

Thanks for the heads up!

Liz said...

Thanks for saving us the dinero.. DH wants to go see something Sunday I'm sure it won't be this!

becky @ misspriss said...

I had thought about seeing it as well, but I couldn't sit through that.

Jan Garber said...

I agree, you just saved us $$$$ that could be spent on something better. Also, my four yr old g'son related to me that "Cloudy, With a Chance of Meatballs" was really boring. Now, it has to be pretty bad for him to think that, AND the OTHER g'parents walked out on that one. (She fell asleep) So, some of you may want to save that one for the Big Red Box!