Films & Schedules
  • The Invention of Lying

  • Ricky Gervais

  • Matthew Robinson

Country: USA
99 minutes


Imagine going to greet your blind date at their apartment and being told immediately upon the door opening how disappointing they find you. Not even a little white lie – “nice tie” or “I like your shirt” – to defray the blunt bad news. That's because in this world, which in most other ways looks like our own, there are no lies. Lying, it seems, is an invention, like the wheel or light bulb, and in the parallel universe sprung from the hilarious mind of comedian Ricky Gervais, fibbing has not yet been invented.

It's a world with shades of Pleasantville: people are sweet, the beautiful among them especially beautiful, and everyone knows their place – partly because others will rather abruptly remind them of it. But the lack of lies has an interesting flip side: there's also no fiction, no fantasy. That is, until one day when Mark Bellison (Gervais), at loose ends after being fired from his job as a writer for a film studio devoted to producing the only cinematic fare this world knows (dry readings from history, of course), makes a remarkable discovery. A switch – in fact, let's call it a light bulb – goes off in his head, he tells the world's first lie, and instantly his life turns around. His dream girl, Jennifer (Jennifer Garner), suddenly seems within reach, his career star is back on the rise, and before too long, he's even famous.

The cast of The Invention of Lying have high times with the script's rich wit. Garner and Gervais are flanked by an all-star cohort that includes Tina Fey, Louis C.K., Jonah Hill and a bespectacled Rob Lowe, who plays Mark's odious rival both at work and in matters of the heart. But this isn't just a farce of the “what if” variety. We are asked anew about the consequences for saying one thing and meaning another, and whether a series of falsehoods can ever lead to real love. This is a rip-roaring comedy, make no doubt about it, but one that's after something true.

Michèle Maheux

Ricky Gervais was born in Reading, Berkshire, England, and obtained a degree in philosophy from University College London. He made his television debut with Golden Years, which he wrote and starred in, followed by The 11 O'Clock Show, Meet Ricky Gervais, The Office and Extras. He has also starred in the films Night at the Museum (06), Stardust (07), Ghost Town (08) and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (09). The Invention of Lying (09, co-director) is his directorial debut.

Matthew Robinson was born in Los Angeles and studied literature at Sarah Lawrence College. The Invention of Lying (09, co-director) is his feature film debut.

Cadillac People's Choice Award