There are cycles of inspiration and rebirth, but the barbed promise of the early going loses its way in choices aimed at sentimentality rather than, as Harvey Kurtzman memorably put it, humor in a jugular vein.
There's no doubting that this is one comic who can really act. But maybe Gervais should leave the directing to someone who knows how to tell funny stories on film, if such a talent can be found these days.
The truth? Ricky Gervais' jolting philosophical comedy The Invention of Lying is seriously subversive. What other rom-com would spend so much time making a convincing case that belief in an afterlife is a harmless load of bollocks?