22 February 2010

Movie Review: The Invention of Lying: A Pathetic Attack on Christianity

I admit, a lot of time I will watch a movie based solely on who is in it. I rarely if ever read a movie review to get any details or anyone's opinion. Such was the case with the recent DVD release of "The Invention of Lying." Not really a fan of the main character Ricky Gervais, it was the fact that Jennifer Garner was in it that drew me to it. She often plays fun and cute roles, so we expected the same here; and in fact she did that here too.

The preview of the movie gave little detail to the movie story line aside from making it simply look like humorous fun. The premise is basically that in an alternate reality, in a world where everyone tells the truth, one man learns to lie. As the previews showed, I expected it to be a simple movie of a man indulging in silliness and taking advantage of it. Instead, we are served up 99 minutes of slightly humorous dialog with a heavy underlying atheist message.

The whole world of truth that we are presented with is made to look boring and dry, where everyone tells the truth, often being quite harsh with insults to each other. There is no fiction in story telling, so everything is quite dry and boring. Commercials are truthful ("Pepsi: When they don't have Coke" - that was a cute one), and TV shows are simply someone sitting and reading history stories.

The "fun" begins when the main characters mother is on her deathbed, and she is in great fear of dying and entering into the great nothingness of death. Grief stricken, her son makes up a "lie" to comfort her, telling her it is not an eternity of nothingness, but is a place where she will get her own beautiful mansion, and life will be amazing (giving all of the typical descriptions of Heaven). This is of great comfort to the mother as she passes, but is a shocker to the surrounding nurses and doctors who have never heard of such a thing. They want to know more.

Word gets out, and quickly, and next thing you know there is a huge crowd outside the the main characters door, with news teams to broadcast to the whole world this new revelation about the after life. So, in preparation for speaking to the public, he writes down his thoughts to present to them. These two sheets of notes, containing ten main points, are taped to the back of two pizza boxes to make the flimsy paper easier to handle for his presentation. So, out comes the man with his two "tablets" containing ten main points, which he then reads to the people. Sounds kind of similar to someone else, huh? The ten points tell basic concepts of morality and discuss a message given to him from "the man in the sky" who spoke these things to him.

At first, I found it kind of cute, until a few minutes in, it hit me. "Hey, the idea of this movie is, this character is lying." Then I started seeing what was being done through the rest of the movie, they were making fun of, and basically saying that God was a man made idea to help comfort people, and not based on any truth. The movie went down hill from there. It had it's moments of humor, but the it obviously lost a lot of respect with me.

I will say that it had one true to life point that was kind of cute. Once the people believed they were to get a beautiful mansion after death, they all became more complacent in life, and didn't care about life on Earth anymore or accomplishing anything, but instead looked forward to an early entrance into their mansion and heavenly afterlife. Kind of describes those in Christianity today who have a mentality of "why polish the brass on a sinking ship" and are just looking to escape this world and gain heaven.

All in all, Jennifer Garner came through with a cute humorous character role as expected, but got lost in a whole world of ignorance and atheistic ideas. In preparation for blogging on this, I did a search of some other reviews of this movie, and found many others saying similar things about how the embedded "religious" message kind of killed the movie. In looking further, I found an actual article where Ricky Gervais, the main character and co-writer of this whole movie (makes sense now), was an openly professed atheist. Oddly, the story I read on this, found HERE, if it is actually a true story, says he was raised a Jesus loving Christian, but turned to atheism...at the ripe old age of EIGHT.

Well, anyway, if you are like me, and looked to see this movie based on the actors and their humorous past roles, or based on the short exposure presented in the movie trailer; you may be irritated at the ignorant underlying message being presented here.