the truth about lies

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Narrative Feature / USA
Director: Phil Allocco
Writer: Phil Allocco

This review is part of my coverage of 2015’s Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis. Click here for more of my coverage of the festival. You can find my coverage of other Indianapolis area film and TV events here.

The Truth About Lies is a comedy about liars, love, and what happens when people believe what you project about yourself. After losing his job, apartment, and girlfriend on the same day, perpetually immature Gilby lies his way into a temporary position in a company headed by his best friend’s brother-in-law. Things get more complicated when Gilby gets close to his best friend’s sister/his boss’ wife, Rachel.

The film has a number of very effective gags sprinkled throughout a sometimes rote romantic comedy. Fran Kranz‘s physical comedy is fun to watch, but his chemistry with ex-girlfriend Sharon (Mary Elizabeth Ellis) and new love interest Rachel (Odette Annabelle) is all over the place.

The lead actors’ inconsistent chemistry may have more to do with the writing than the performances, however. The script calls for characters to be ruthlessly cold and others to be open about personal issues without being properly prompted. It’s somewhat jarring.

Gilby’s personality is also somewhat difficult to overcome. He’s a compulsive liar who’s down on his luck as much as he’s unwilling to grow up. These personality traits are ripe for comedy that lands frequently throughout the movie. However, his cynicism when he breaks the ice with Rachel at a party and the way he piles on the lies from there, makes it increasingly difficult to buy into their potential romance.

Making this even more difficult was the imbalance between Rachel and Gilby. Rachel is a bored wife searching for happiness by adopting lifestyles that don’t fit her. Gilby calls her out on this journey of faux self-discovery in the film, but her obliviousness to his increasing lack of honesty makes it difficult to see them as right for each other.

Unfortunately, Gilby and Rachel’s relationship is the strongest pairing that The Truth About Lies has to offer. Circumstances lead Gilby to live with his mother May, who is so over-the-top and goofy that she doesn’t seem like she’s in the right movie. Though her storyline is tangentially important to the overall plot, the movie would have been tighter not having that character in the movie at all.

A lot of the humor does land pretty consistently throughout the movie despite its bigger shortcomings. Gilby’s lies lead to a satisfying pay off that turns into a delightfully farcical sequence. This and the inclusion of memorable supporting characters make watching The Truth About Lies a positive experience that ultimately left me wanting more.

Obsessive Grade – 6.5/10

The Truth About Lies Heartland 2015 Screenings:

Tuesday, Oct. 20th – 12:15pmCastleton
Saturday, Oct. 24th – 6pmWheeler Arts Community


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