Ricky Gervais is something of a scene stealer, whether that's at awards ceremonies, on his stand up, or during little movie cameos. He's gained quite a following of diehard fans that love his tongue-in-cheek wry humor and his one-of-a-kind way of twisting dialogue. Gervais can make a sentence funny just due to his stammering, natural way of speaking. The words don't have to be funny; he's got it covered by himself. He also has a remarkable ability to mock himself, which becomes clear in his newest film The Invention of Lying. The characters in the movie - even the nice ones - constantly verbally flay Gervais with comments on his appearance, his weight, his intelligence, and being a 'loser.' Since he wrote the movie, he either has complete self-confident, or he's slightly masochistic.
Right up front, there is a singular problem with The Invention of Lying, and that's due to its current marketing. The previews make it look like it's a fun, possibly romantic, light comedy. An opposite Liar, Liar, set in a world where everyone can only tell the truth, and only Gervias can lie. Instead, this film is actually a satire discussing heavy issues such as fundamentalism in both science and faith - religion and evolution. It is smarter than you expect, and while thoughtful films should be openly embraced, the fact that the marketing on this movie seems so misguided makes me concerned for the film's well being. Plenty of people might see this movie expecting one thing, and come out of it feeling ... tricked, perhaps. So here's the truth about The Invention of Lying: It's a comedy with a dramatic turn, with plenty of laughs and heart, but it does bring a slightly blasphemous point of view to the table. If you're sensitive to that, you may come out of it spitting mad.
Gervais plays Mark, a lovable loser in an alternate world where no one is capable of lying. It's not just that they always tell the truth; there's no politeness or social niceties. Everyone says what they think no matter what. So when the waiter admits he drank a little of the drinks he brought over, it's just how things are. When Jennifer Garner admits that she was masturbating, she isn't capable of holding that in. They all say exactly what they truly think at all times. Which can be hilarious, but also painful if you're chubby Mark. He has a job writing historical films at a movie company; there is no fiction, remember? Only truth, even in movies! He was given the Black Plague and cannot make it interesting, so he's preparing to be fired. His secretary Shelley (Tina Fey) and main rival Rob (Rob Lowe) torture him once he is fired, admitting they hate him and think he's nothing but a fat loser.