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The Invention of Lying - The Ex-Communicator

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October 2nd, 2009


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10:35 pm - The Invention of Lying
I went to see the new Ricky Gervais film. If you don't know the premise you can guess it from the title: set in an alternative universe where the human race has never developed lying, stories, or even innuendo, Ricky Gervais plays a man who suddenly discovers how to fib. Excitingly, about half way through this takes off and he invents religion, a bit stumblingly, which is going slightly beyond expectations. But he doesn't quite write or act up to the narrative challenge he has set himself.

One sentence verdict: this film is an honourable miss. A man's reach should exceed his grasp, and I'm pleased to see Gervais, who is a very clever man, reaching towards a metaphysical comedy-drama like The Truman Show or Groundhog Day, but to be honest he misses that standard by miles. The film plummets at the end into Hollywood claptrap, but there's a lot on the way that is pretty good: jokes that make me laugh, pathos that made me cry. But it doesn't quite hang together.

Many of the best popular films of the past twenty years or so hinge on a breakthrough of understanding. The Shawshank Redemption, the Usual Suspects, The Truman Show and so on. Gervais tries to do this, as his eyes are opened to the infinite possibilities of fiction. But he can't act it. It just doesn't work. What a shame.

However, at least he knows what he's trying for, and I hope he'll try again and perhaps make it next time.

(6 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:dfordoom
Date:October 2nd, 2009 10:40 pm (UTC)
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After The Office the mere presence of Ricky Gervais in the movie would probably put me off seeing it.
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From:communicator
Date:October 3rd, 2009 06:43 am (UTC)
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This is a subject on which we will never agree, I think
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From:happytune
Date:October 3rd, 2009 10:07 am (UTC)
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Do you want to book in to go and see the doubtless very bad, but likely to be yummy fun, Sherlock Holmes film? :-)
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From:communicator
Date:October 3rd, 2009 10:10 am (UTC)
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I desperately want to see that - let's definitely go. District 9 is still on by the way.
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From:happytune
Date:October 3rd, 2009 09:33 pm (UTC)
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Great! Do you know when it comes on? We were wondering if you and/or H and the kids didn't want to come up one weekend too? Perhaps on the way to or from your sister? Or for no reason at all other than to have a long chat in a comfy place? :-)
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From:communicator
Date:October 4th, 2009 07:32 am (UTC)
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I don't think the Sherlock Holmes will appear until around Christmas time. Let's make a definite arrangement for next weekend - I haven't seen much of you for a couple of weeks IRL

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