8:00 PM, 6th March, 2010
It’s the world as we know it, except for one little fact: lying doesn’t exist. Politicians, lawyers and advertisers should all be out of a job, but they go about their business with the truth. I know that’s hard to swallow but if you can leave your disbelief at the door then you should enjoy this film. Honest.
The film develops a twist when Mark Bellison (Gervais) suddenly develops the ability to lie, and finds that dishonesty has its rewards. Before his discovery he was an unsuccessful screenwriter as without lying there are no fictional films; just factual, historical (boring) films. With Mark’s new found superpower, Mark is able to be the man that he always wanted to be and just maybe get together with Anna (Garner), the girl he’s always wanted.
The Invention of Lying isn’t as out and out funny as some of Gervais’s previous films, but it does have its moments. It is also quite touching, though it plays this thickly towards the end, with a healthy dose of satire thrown in. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I enjoyed it immensely.
9:51 PM, 6th March, 2010
Larry Gopnik (Stuhlbarg) is a serious man. He is serious about his family, about his home, about his work, about his life. He is a physics professor who writes serious equations on seriously big blackboards. Larry seeks to make sense of the world by approaching it with a serious spirit, a rational spirit, imagining that the world will repay him by being a rational and a serious place. This film is about Larry being deeply, incomprehensibly, bewilderingly wrong.
Larry acts sanely, rationally, logically, while around him the following things happen: his wife leaves him for his best friend; his scary gun-nut neighbour keeps mowing parts of Larry’s lawn; his son has joined a record club that is demanding payment with increasing menace; his brother is monopolising the bathroom to drain his cyst; and a student tries to bribe him and blackmail him at the same time.
And these are just the events; the atmosphere is more bizarre still. The Coen brothers are masters of the black comedy, and they have infused this one with the quality of a dream or a fable.
Make sure you see this film with someone else so that you can have the following conversation afterwards: “What was with that bit at the start?” “I have no idea. Was he really a dybbuk?” “I’m still not sure what a dybbuk is.” “That wasn’t Steve Martin as the rabbi, was it?” “No, you great doofus. But was the other one George Clooney?” “No, it was the other guy. What the hell was with the goy’s teeth?” “No idea.” “I need a drink.” “Me too.”