As regular readers have no doubt deduced, I like movies. Some movies rise to the level of great art—The Godfather and The Godfather II come to mind—while others are merely entertainment. A very average movie that I saw recently was The Invention of Lying.
The Invention of Lying tells a rather familiar story: chubby but sympathetic boy gets attractive girl. It stars Ricky Gervais, of the British version of the TV show The Office, and it has a few amusing moments. The premise of the movie is that it takes place in a world in which people always tell the truth. They have not invented lying or even fiction. In fact, they have no words for “truth” or “lying” because the concepts are beyond them.
I tend to like comedy in which people say terribly inappropriate things which also happen to be true, so the film’s premise appealed to me. The plot thickens—and the film gets its title—when Mark, the Ricky Gervais character, who is kind of a loser, in a moment of inspiration, tells a bank teller that he has more money in his account than he really does. Since nobody in their world lies, she assumes her computer has made an error and gives him all the money he asks for. From then on, Mark realizes all the great things that can be accomplished by inventing one’s own truth.