The Invention of Lying


Truth 24 frames per sec...

Ricky Gervais: comedy genius whose delivery can make anything funny… Or smug one-trick pony whose best days are behind him?

The way you feel about the man who brought us The Office will determine your enjoyment/endurance of a high-concept comedy that flirts with brilliance but ultimately never gets beyond its pitch.

So here it is: in a world where no one can lie, what would happen if “fat, snub-nosed loser” Mark (Gervais) was suddenly able to fib? Could he get the out-of-his-league girl (Jennifer Garner) and soften the harsh realities of life with white lies?

Scripted by newcomer Matthew Robinson, this Truman Show-esque thought-provoker was snapped up by Gervais (credited as co-director/writer) and polished into a keen study of social cruelties and human nature. It’s also now a vehicle for Ricky’s patented unfinished, uncomfortable sentences and that rising squeak of humiliation.

On his blog, Mr G reckons Lying is for those who are “smart with a good sense of humour”. Which is a good summary of the film. It is original, smart and humorous in its satirical barbs at religion, advertising and social niceties (dates are painfully honest, waiters admit to sipping your drinks and care homes are “sad places for old people”).

It’s also stacked with knowing cameos (Stephen Merchant, Barry off EastEnders), while Gervais offers a moment of genuine, heartfelt drama at a hospital bedside that’s as affecting as it is surprising.

But Lying is a one-note joke that’s loaded with product placement and betrays Gervais’ own discomfort at playing outside his schtick – the ‘romance’ with Garner is as coy as they come. Fact.


Wittier than your average romcom, with a conceit that’ll have you dreaming up your own comedic reality checks. A treat for fans – but torture for those who have tired of Gervais’ naked ambition.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • FastestMilkman

      Oct 2nd 2009, 11:18

      Shan't be seeing this, so no stars, but you guys hit it on the head with 'smug one-trick pony'. I wish Gervais would just go away.

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    • TVC15

      Oct 3rd 2009, 18:57


      Love that you think naked ambition is considered a bad thing. God forbid someone actual strives for something and succeeds, dares to have a go. Such a crime.

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    • gurjit07

      Oct 6th 2009, 20:37


      Total Film gave Die Hard 4 three stars and Jumper 4 stars. Then they slate this film and yet still give it a good three stars. Eejits. Gervais wrote the worst episode of The Simpsons of all time (which if you've watched the simpsons recently is a pretty hard thing to do!) He is a one trick pony. Trust Empire folks.

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    • vanillasky

      Oct 28th 2009, 20:20


      All I can say is that it started off promising but completely derailed when it came to the man in the sky plot line. Pretending to be moses with 2 pizza hut boxes is not funny then growing your hair long with a beard(familiar anyone??). On a plus side, Jennifer Garner is a honey and she generates the one star.

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    • jonnybodz

      Nov 3rd 2009, 20:52


      Watch this movie for free for those of you that are short on money at But if you can afford it go to the theaters and support the movies

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