The Invention of Lying
So, the problem here is that we at BestForFilm like movies, but frankly there are a lot of things we’d rather be doing than trying to review The Invention of Lying. Not because it doesn’t need reviewing – people need to be aware of the dangers surrounding them – but after the screening we collectively spent quite a bit of money on gin to suppress the memories and we’re reluctant to waste that investment.
Oh, God, it’s bad. You’ve probably already read some reviews that say that, but at least they quote (read: spoil) some of the funnier jokes, right? Wrong. There aren’t any funny jokes. Once, due to an unfortunate accident, one of our reviewers had to walk three miles home with four inches of wire coathanger sticking out of his thigh. He assures us the experience was funnier than this film.
We’re pretty sure that everyone’s heard the conceit behind this cinematic shitshack, but just in case, here goes: Identikit Loser Character (Gervais) invents lying. If you need any more, head to Wikipedia. we’re not going to waste either your or our precious time. Suffice to say, a world where nobody can lie is explored in the first few minutes of the film with all the crashing subtlety of circus porn. Identikit Loser is insulted almost continually, giving Gervais ample opportunity to show off his array of “hilarious” faces of indignance. There’s Bland Love Interest (Jennifer Garner) in there somewhere too, and if you somehow tire of trying to force your own fist down your throat you can play “Spot The Cameo”. There’s a few. All will be regretting it.
Of course, senseless-yet-witty vitriol is all well and good. But if you want to know precisely why this movie is so guttural, well… we’re afraid the answer is Gervais himself. Yes, the script is bad, switching between mawkish and/or maudlin sentimentality and high-concept hijinks like a bad episode of Scrubs. Performances, particularly from the aforementioned cameos, are either guarded or forced; all come across as embarrassing. Even with these limitations, The Invention of Lying could’ve been just about (just about!) passable, but sitting at the centre of this drivelous web like a smug, bloated spiderworm is Gervais himself, somehow managing to pervade every scene with the rancorous stench of his self-satisfaction. Even the goddamn sets seem pleased with themselves.
To misquote Churchill, if you didn’t like The Office you haven’t got a heart, if you didn’t like Extras you haven’t got a brain. But this is just too much. It’s lazy, self-indulgent and unfunny film-making. Avoid like the plague. Unless you’re on the way to see it, and then lick the nearest infected rat quicksmart.