As pleased as I am with my above pun, I am unable to reserve any kind words for the Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab-trumping abomination that I witnessed on my recent flight from New York to London. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about Ricky Gervais’ catastrophe The Invention of Lying.
I am not exagerrating when I say that The Invention Of Lying makes Liar, Liar (“THE CLAAW! THE CLAAAWWW!”) look like The Godfather. Set in a world where humans are unable to lie, its neither the egregious plot holes, nor the dead-hand with which every joke is dealt, that irked me so much about the movie. Rather its the pervasive tone of arrogance, flippance and laziness exemplified by its star and creator. Countless topics (suicide, depression, euthanasia, predestination) are introduced, and then tossed aside as Gervais phones in a half-baked impersonation of David Brent. Even when, in a frankly jaw-dropping plot development, he casts himself as God, he simply can’t be bothered to turn up.
When I can tell you, with my hand on my heart, that the stand-out moment of the film is a bizarre flashback cameo from Shaun Wil.. OK, Barry out of Eastenders, as an inept burglar, you get an idea of the level of quality we are dealing with.
The ultimate high-concept Hollywood comedy, featuring pathos, romance and witty writing, has already been done. The irony is that Gervais, with the memory of his The Office being pushed further away by the unstoppable juggernaut of its US counterpart, and his succession of dud films, now appears stuck in his own Groundhog Day.