left biblioblography: The Invention Of Lying – A Movie Review

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Invention Of Lying – A Movie Review

Cross posted @ God Is 4 Suckers!

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace – Imagine, John Lennon

I recently watched this movie, and I have to say: I absolutely loved it.

Because, let’s admit it – as an atheist, I cannot abide dishonesty. It was the initial attraction it had for me after all. The uncompromising pedantry, the brutal clinical analysis of details, the utter logic of it. And religious people? They lie. Perhaps in small ways, even more so in large ways. The mental gymnastics of rationalizing their worldview, the  semantic dishonesty, the dance of belief so fragile that a light wind can shatter it and the denial afterwards.

So the plotline was a refreshing concept: a parallel world where nobody understands the concept of lying. Wow. What I wouldn’t give to live there, I tells ya. You’d know where you stood immediately with anyone you’d meet. Conversations where people never ever used ‘weasel words’. If you were going to score, you’d know it. Ask a question, and there’s no dancing about, just a straight answer.

And one of the more beautiful aspects of the flick, is that there was no such thing as religion. Not one jot nor tittle.

So one day, as shown in the trailer, Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) lies and gets more money from the bank than he has. He begins to experiment with this newfound ‘power’, much to our collective amusement.

And the big hit at the Judeo-Christian religion, is when his mother is lying in bed, scared of death, not wanting to go into cold nothingness, and Mark makes up a huge fib about what is obviously termed heaven here, and is overheard by the doctor and nurses. The ‘word’ spreads like wildfire, and people begin camping on his doorstep. So Mark writes the ‘nine commandments’ on the back of two pizza boxes, and addresses the crowd by telling them about the ‘man in the sky’. Much hilarity ensues.

I rather liked the subplot, where Mark is trying to woo Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner), who isn’t interested in him at all, and…well, watch the movie. Some critics didn’t like the idea of a dumpy little guy getting a hottie, but it does happen, and screw those shallow pricks anyways.

And some of the religious kooks weren’t too hot about it, anyways:

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times awarded the film the three and a half stars out of four saying "in its amiable, quiet, PG-13 way, [it] is a remarkably radical comedy" while Empire gave the film 1 star out of 5 saying the "ramshackle plot detours into a hideously ill-conceived religious satire". The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops rated The Invention of Lying as "O - morally offensive"] However, Xan Brooks of The Guardian was more favourable, giving the film four out of five stars, although he was critical of some aspects: "It is slick and it is funny. But it is also too obviously schematic, while that romantic subplot can feel awfully synthetic at times."

But hey, if you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined the race.

Anyways, till the next post.

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