I am not Ricky Gervais's big fan, there are moments when he is clever and funny but there are times when he thinks he is being clever and funny but he isn't. And that is the same when it comes to his movie "The Invention of Lying" because there are moments of cleverness and fun but a lot which ends up thinking its being clever and funny but in truth is boring. In truth if I was being brutally honest "The Invention of Lying" is a movie of one funny idea, one semi clever idea and some cameos but the actual humour soon wears thin as it meanders along with jokes drawn out longer than they are funny.
Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais - Ghost Town) is a screenwriter who lives in a world where no one lies and everyone speaks their mind, in fact there is not even a word for lying. And Mark is not the luckiest of people, he is getting the sack, Anna (Jennifer Garner - Ghosts of Girlfriends Past) who he loves is not interested in him because he is short and fat and his mother is on the verge of dying. But everything changes for Mark when out of nowhere he has the ability to lie and suddenly he is not only able to make his life better but also those around him. Though when his mother is frightened because she fears an eternity of nothingness and Mark tells her that their is a perfect afterlife things spiral out of control as the whole world wants to know about the afterlife and where this information is coming from.
After an initially stupid narration over the credits we get introduced to the world of Mark where no one lies and they all speak their mind in a blunt matter of fact way. It is initially a fun idea from hearing Jennifer Garner as Anna tell Mark he was early and interrupted her masturbating to Anna basically telling him that she is not interested in him because he is short and fat. But it soon becomes apparent this joke of everyone being brutally honest becomes dull as we follow Mark around and meet his suicidal neighbour, the secretary who dislikes him and his boss who is about to fire him. It is a case of becoming monotonous as everyone is so matter of fact and there is no spark to it, just people saying what they think in a dead pan way.
Now whilst all this is going on we get some fun moments from cameos such as an actor who plays a cop or the actor who plays the barman. I won't say who they are because the moment of realisation is fun and to be honest "The Invention of Lying" ends up short on fun moments so to rob you of these would be cruel.
Anyway after what seems an eternity of monotonous brutal honesty we get the moment where Mark suddenly finds he has the ability to lie. And again it is initially a clever idea, the scene where he tells a woman that unless they have sex the world will end is fun but again it ends up becoming monotonous because we get scene after scene of Mark lying to make a better life for him and his friends. Eventually we get to the dig about religion as Mark to soften the blow of dying for his mother makes up the idea of an afterlife and then makes up 10 commandments when things spiral out of control. But unfortunately it is not as clever as Gervais thinks and ends up like the rest of the movie, dull because it is drawn out and lacks spark.
In the end the most enjoyment I got from watching "The Invention of Lying" is the numerous recognizable faces such as Rob Lowe, Jennifer Garner, Fionnula Flanagan and for Brits Shaun Williamson aka Barry from Eastenders. But it is just the fact that Ricky Gervais managed to persuade so many stars to appear rather than for their performances with only Jennifer Garner actually being amusing because of her complete innocent look when saying things.
What this all boils down to is that "The Invention of Lying" has some good ideas but never uses them to their best effect and so what starts out funny quickly turns monotonous and dull as jokes are repeated long after they have stopped being amusing. It's not that "The Invention of Lying" is terrible just a wasted opportunity to do something really clever and funny.