The Invention of Lying
Universal/Reliance BIG, `499
Rating: 2 stars
It was supposed to be comedian Ricky Gervais’s great leap across the pond into the big-budget world of Hollywood. But who would have thought that, to do that, the muttering-under-the-breath star of The Office would change into a simplistic Adam Sandler-ish self?
Strapped with the unremarkable hair and remarkable canines of Gervais, Mark lives in an unnamed town where nobody lies. There, everyone calls a Kalmadi a crook with an uncomfortable regularity. A motel shingle reads ‘A cheap place for sex with a near stranger’ and a retirement home is ‘A sad place for helpless old people’.
In this Ever-Everland, Mark, a scriptwriter “assigned the 13th century” by production house Lecture Films, ‘invents’ the joy and benefits of lying when he’s fired with little money and an earful of abuse. He comforts his dying mother telling her there’s a great afterlife in which every soul gets a mansion. Then starts the trouble. Everyone — adding up to a po-faced crowd of 26 on his apartment lawns — wants him to tell all about afterlife. So Mark plays Moses and writes out, on pizza boxes, 10 commandments about ‘the man in the sky’. But, as expected, none of it answers filmdom’s biggest question: does he get the girl? Truth be told, do we give a damn?