Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Invention of Lying

The Invention of LyingThe Invention of Lying - Is that product placement?
In a world where everyone tells the truth, one man learns how to lie; 'The Invention of Lying'.
You can't get more high concept than that, though Ricky Gervais, writer, director and star tries to make things a little more complex. For one he attempts to explore the usefulness of fiction in maintaining a happy, and indeed sane, life. Not only does religion, his biggest lie, bring comfort to a world ill at ease with death, it also brings about some sort of justification for a morality that nevertheless didn't seem to be a problem till his lie exposed it as one. This could be a weighty theme, and indeed I'm surprised America's religious right did not pick up on the full implications of this Gervais's argument. Strangely his humanism seems to have been the bedrock of the very society he corrupts.
Even more challengingly, particularly given Hollywood and it's bread and butter fare, he tries to strike a blow for us short, fat, ugly chaps. You see there's much more to us than unpleasant contributors to an otherwise beautiful genepool. The fact that this argument is made in the service of trying to woo and win self-acknowledged babe Jennifer Garner does not seem to strike Gervais as contradictory (compare this to Jack Black's love in 'Shallow Hal'). (This 'having-your-cake-and-eating-it' approach also extends to some nauseating product placement. A famous fast food box doubling as a Moses-style tablet is only funny if you forget you're being force-fed the fast food chain.) Nevertheless it is always refreshing to see a non-sparklingly beautiful actor starring in a big-budget flick, quite apart from his making the case for its value. Long may it continue.
So after its initial confrontational beginning, Gervais's film descends into standard romcom fare, as was probably inevitable. However, its few pungent points are bitter enough to remain in the memory. If their development says more about Gervais than society, it's still stimulating to see them stated at all.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home