Nsenga K. Burton
Can you imagine a world where people tell the truth, all of the time. No matter what the situation or scenario, the people with whom you interact are going to be brutally honest. They are honest about everything — looks, intelligence, flatulence — you name it and they will tell it.
Ricky Gervais brilliantly plays the role of Mark Bellison, an average looking, down-on-his luck writer, in love with Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner), an upwardly mobile, beauty with a discerning eye for what she wants in a mate. You can imagine how this budding relationship unfolds in a world with no lies. One day, Gervais discovers how to lie and uses it to his advantage, which of course ultimately leads him back to the truth. The dialogue is witty, engaging and provocative.
Although the film is a riot, there are some dark moments, like when Bellison’s neighbor talks nonchalantly about killing himself each morning in the elevator. Who is that neighbor? Jonah Hill of Superbad and Forgetting Sarah Marshall fame and many more stars to boot. The Invention of Lying reinvents the comedy genre by making you laugh, think and feel all at once — and that’s no lie.
Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is a media scholar and cultural critic for Creative Loafing.