COMEDY; 1hr 40min
STARRING: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner
Unreal: Garner and Gervais
If everyone told the absolute truth, there would be no doubt where anybody stood, God save us. In The Invention of Lying, such brutal honesty is a giggle in the off-kilter way that oddballs and uncomfortably direct kids can make you smile. But it’s no fun for also-rans like Mark Bellison (Gervais, co-writer and director with Matt Robinson). Fired from his boring film-company writing job, out of funds and a no-hoper with women, Mark is fast-tracking it to nowhere until he suddenly discovers the ability to lie.
Just like that, his life turns around: he cleans up at a casino, becomes a religious guru and wows his dream woman (Garner). It’s all too good to be true — which, along with funny stuff from Jonah Hill, Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Jeffrey Tambor and Louis C.K., is what gives it juice. And there’s a darker side: Mark’s poppycock legacy is essential loneliness since he is the sole person who knows the hollow truth. By this late stage, the comedic relationship is strained. Then again, a little sting in the tale never hurt anyone.