Ricky Gervais’ The Invention of Lying takes place in a world very much like our own with one very notable difference — there’s no such thing as a lie. The concept of truth and lies doesn’t exist because no one ever has lied and apparently no one has the capacity to lie. Your blind date answers the door and immediately tells you she’s disappointed to get a look at you. Euphemisms are unknown. And drama and the arts as we know them are nonexistent. But all this changes when lowly screenwriter Mark Bellison (Gervais) discovers that not only can he make things up, but that anything he says will be taken for the truth. This leads to acclaim and riches, but it leads to more when he makes up a story about the “Man in the Sky” to comfort his dying mother. This is a pretty heavy concept to put in this kind of framework. It’s one that’s very apt to draw a good deal of wrath in certain quarters, since it’s grounded in the idea that religion is a man-made invention designed solely for the purpose of offering comfort — and that it then complicates and guides itself with a set of rules grafted onto it by man, in this case Mark Bellison. It depends on how seriously you take the premise as to how you’ll feel about this. Regardless, it makes this the most thought-provoking comedy in a very long time.
Director: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
Writer: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson
Producer: Dan Lin, Lynda Obst, Oly Obst and Ricky Gervais
Cast: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill, Louis C.K., Jeffrey Tambor, Fionnula Flanagan, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey