"Why Would I Lie?" made me very angry while I was
watching it, because it is both a glorification of the arrogant stupidity of
its central character, and an insult to the intelligence of its audience. Not a
bad double play. It's the most offensive example in a long time of the Idiot
Plot, which I define as follows:
Plot (n.) A story for a film, book or play that depends for its continuity on
the stupidity of everyone in the story.
the case of "Why Would I Lie?" the only reason the mysteries in the
film are not solved in the first 15 minutes is because nobody in this movie
ever does any of the obvious things that every member of the audience would
naturally do at once. That creates an enormous frustration on our part, as
we're enduring the film, because we know that all the characters have to do is
say one or two simple words and their problems are over. We want to shout the
answers at the screen.
movie stars Treat Williams as a spoiled, arrogant upper-class kid who lies
compulsively about everything. He thinks it's cute. Because he won't sign a
piece of paper, he and his sister and brothers can't share in the family
inheritance. Tough. He gets a job as a social worker, falls in love with a
little kid, unofficially and illegally adopts the kid, and then goes looking
for the kid's mother - who should be out of prison by now.
far, the movie has been irritating because of the boring behavior of the
character, and boring because of the inept handling of an arbitrary plot. But
now it starts making us angry, because it creates its suspense out of two plays
on names - and neither one should fool, any intelligent person for long.
to track down the boy's mother, whose last name was "Kalinski," Treat
Williams goes to a woman's halfway house where she used to live. He is told
that many of the women have changed their names after leaving prison. He meets
Lisa Eichhorn, a counselor at the center. Her name is "Kay Lindsay.'' Is
that close enough to "Kalinski" for you?
she says she doesn't know this Kalinski, but she immediately sleeps with Williams,
they become friends and lovers, and she meets the kid. The kid's name is Jeorge
- with a "J," so the mother would know him if she ever found him
again. But Williams has decided to call him Hank instead of Jeorge. So the
woman doesn't realize it's her son.
except, except: Why doesn't "Kay Lindsay" ever try to find out why
this guy came looking for her under her real name of Kalinski? Why doesn't the
kid ever say his real name isn't Hank? Why doesn't the woman ever ask the guy
where the kid came from-especially since the guy says it's not his kid? Why
doesn't' the guy tell the people at the center that he's looking for Kalinski
because he has her kid? (He only says he has "something" for her.)
any one of these simple actions had taken place, the movie would be over. But
no. While everybody's pussyfooting around the obvious in this movie, it
complicates things by the offensive addition of a totally off-the-wall subplot
involving Kay Lindsay's protector, a woman who gave her a home when she got out
of prison and is also, we suddenly discover, a lesbian with jealous designs on
what, exactly, is the relationship between Kay and the lesbian? Who knows.
Although they've known each other for years, their relationship is undefined in
an awkward and ugly argument they have. And then the movie ends in a nauseating
and truly disgusting scene where the little kid finally pipes up that his real
name is Jeorge, the mother embraces him, and the movie's over! Without any
scenes showing the results of the revelation!
know this all sounds so stupid and offensive and unbelievably amateurish that
it's hard to believe, but . . . why would I lie?