In a world where everyone can only tell the truth...this guy can lie.
Running Time: 100 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A
Country: United States
Mark Bellison (Gervais) lives in a world without lies where people can only tell the truth. He finds himself at the bottom of the pile as he is brutally insulted by co-workers, dates and strangers alike. One day, he manages to tell a lie and his life changes for the better. With the ability to make people believe whatever he says, he becomes rich and famous, alters history and creates the very first religion.
The Invention of Lying is a clever, subtle film which sees an alternative reality systematically explained for the viewer through viciously honest conversations and subtle sight gags. Gervais sticks the boot into organised religion as he continues with the Jesus-bashing from his stand up routines and takes on the role of the Saviour. However, the concept of the films truthful society is itself is a little unclear. Just because the characters can’t lie, it doesn’t mean they have to share their every thought with those around them. They do this constantly for the first part of the film, but, thankfully, its soon phased out, as the film could have been twice as long.
It is funny in parts, it’s just at no point will you feel in danger of blowing your family-sized coke back through your nostrils. Unfortunately, as good as the premise is, it’s a largely forgettable film that may get an airing on future Saturday afternoon Television at best.
Even so, Gervais’ acting is superb as he displays his trademark comic timing alongside some really emotional scenes, all without the annoying high-pitched thing that he usually does. There are also a number of worthwhile cameos, including Edward Norton’s archetypal cop. The charitable appearances of Gervais’ old Extras buddies – Williamson and Merchant does seem a little desperate though.
It's Got: Clever subtle humour, Jesus-bashing, likeable characters
It Needs: More sizeable laughs, less product placement
Alternatives:Bruce Almighty, The Life of Brian
Clever? Certainly. Funny? Not really.