The Invention Of Lying

  • Year:2009
  • Rating:M
  • Director:Ricky Gervais
  • Cast:Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill
  • Release Date:November 26, 2009
  • Distributor:Universal
  • Running time:96 minutes
  • Film Worth:$10.60
  • FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth

Light, touching and entertaining, this comedy turns syrupy towards the end but is nonetheless sweetly affecting.

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Ricky Gervais - the creator of the classic British TV series The Office and Extras - aims high with his feature directorial debut, The Invention Of Lying - a human comedy in the vein of The Apartment and Groundhog Day - and, even if the film doesn't quite reach the dramatic and comedic heights of those classics, it still offers light and enjoyable entertainment.

Like Groundhog Day, the world of The Invention Of Lying is not an over-the-top, fantastical creation, but rather a clever inversion of the everyday, based on the writers' insight into human behaviour. Gervais plays Mark Bellison, the first human to lie in a world where not only do people not lie, but they have no concept of deception.

It's a simple conceit on the part of Gervais and co-writer/co-director Matthew Robinson, but they layer the film with provocative questions about the roles of storytelling and faith.

The Invention Of Lying is a wish-fulfilment comedy that touches on pretty heavy issues, but - for the most part - offers humour and wit, especially during the opening exchanges which set up the film's comic premise and sense of interior logic.

Gervais may be no-one's idea of a traditional leading man, but he brings a sweetness and gentleness to the characterisation of Mark. He also parlays his success to recruit top-flight comic performers (including Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Jeffrey Tambor) for funny cameos.

Gervais and Robinson may lumber the end stretches of the film with a little too much sentiment (composer Tim Atack pushes too hard for emotion with his syrupy, maudlin score), but they also show genuine affection for their characters.

Funny, clever and even a little touching, The Invention Of Lying succeeds as a modern comic fantasy.

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