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It doesn't quite follow through on its promise, and relies too heavily on shopworn romantic comedy tropes, but The Invention of Lying is uncommonly sly and funny. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Mark Bellison (Ricky Gervais) is a down-on-his-luck writer who lives in world where falsehoods are completely unknown. When Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, the notion that "honesty is the best policy" goes out the window, and he uses his newfound skill for personal gain.

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Critic Reviews for The Invention of Lying

All Critics (189) | Top Critics (61) | Fresh (105) | Rotten (84)

  • Not funny or surreal enough to distract you from its shortcomings and not subversive enough, if at all, to actually have something to say.

    August 30, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Somewhere between a great concept and an awful script The Invention of Lying got lost in its own truth gimmick. But the truth is, it starts bad and just gets worse.

    February 6, 2018 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • I kid you not when I say I sat there wondering is there nothing more to this film? Am I overlooking something? I don't think so, and I couldn't wait for the lights to go up.

    January 17, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    February 18, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    May 6, 2011 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • Fans of Gervais from the classic TV shows Extras and The Office will enjoy the half-sentences, stop-start comic delivery and awkward pauses that have become his trademark.

    November 26, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • Not funny or surreal enough to distract you from its shortcomings and not subversive enough, if at all, to actually have something to say.

    August 30, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Somewhere between a great concept and an awful script The Invention of Lying got lost in its own truth gimmick. But the truth is, it starts bad and just gets worse.

    February 6, 2018 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • I kid you not when I say I sat there wondering is there nothing more to this film? Am I overlooking something? I don't think so, and I couldn't wait for the lights to go up.

    January 17, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Quote not available.

    February 18, 2012 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • The Invention of Lying has some good gags... But the flat direction becomes wearisome and the story runs out of steam before it even reaches a romcom ending that is more sentimental than subversive.

    November 27, 2020 | Full Review…
  • The Invention of Lying, which Gervais wrote, directed, and stars in, is only a comedy for about 20 minutes. The rest is an atheistic treatise mocking anyone who believes there is a God and that He imposed a moral order on the world.

    December 14, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Invention of Lying

  • Dec 30, 2013
    In a world where everyone tells the truth (even when unprovoked - a nit at which this and many other reviewers have picked), Mark Bellison discovers that he can lie and uses that superpower for good...for the most part. The love story arc of Anna figuring out what she wants in a mate is well-paced with a nice moment of her defending the chubby kid who got ice cream smashed in his face by the better-gened kids. Mark's weepy moment of describing a Kindergartener's conception of Heaven to his frightened, dying mother is lovely, but the rest of his Christian scripture is a bit slapstick, and I was disappointed that the movie didn't make more of a comment on spiritual solace, the truth and lies of religion, and Truth's partner: Consequences. Ricky Gervais does his cheeky hosting bit in the proselytizing scenes, but he actually gets rather endearing and emotional throughout the movie. I do love seeing PSH in oafish comedic roles, and I'm digging Louis C.K.'s Above Average Schmo schtick more and more. Jennifer Garner is also requisitely frosty and vapid, then tender and sweet. I especially dig Anna's deleted scene monologue of her appeal, which says so much about real-life Millennial women, female romantic leads in movies, and Anna's own character who just comes off as flatly bitchy at first: "In fact, there are very few things in life I care that much about. The only things I have to offer myself, or anyone else are my good looks and my affected sense of quirkiness which artistically inclined men interpret as intellect. I think my best trait is the fact that I've made very few mistakes. Socially, academically, financially, romantically. I take very few risks and therefore lead a relatively happy, light-hearted existence. Mostly though, I am a kind, sweet person with the potential of genuinely becoming a vital and interesting human being the day I take the energy I expend on hyper-self-reflexivity and apply it to actual action in the reality of my life."
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2013
    Incredibly unique and up front. Despite relying too much on having great dialogues, it still managed to stand out. The comedy seemed a bit too dark for some people's taste but I found it being quite amusing.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2012
    This movie has such an interesting premise. What if there was no such thing as lying?
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2012
    The Invention of Lying is a terrific comedy directed by the great Ricky Gervais. This is a smartly crafted film with great acting and it has a wonderful script and story. If you want a fun little comedy, this is the film to watch. Ricky Gervais is always a pleasure to watch, and in The Invention of Lying, he gives a great performance. I very much loved the film, the cast was well chosen, and each brought something great to the screen. This was a refreshing comedy, compared to others who rely on vulgar, crude content, which is ok, but gets tiresome after awhile. This film relied more on traditional comedy elements to make you laugh, and most certainly did that. The film has plenty of charm, and Ricky Gervais definitely knows what can make you laugh. He is one of the best comedic actors out there, and if you're tired of the same old Adam Sandler garbage, check out Gervais' work. The humor is good, and it was lots of fun from start to finish. The film was slow at times, but what kept me interested was the cast that gave good performances. This is a fine comedy, and there should be more comedies like this that should be made. Gervais is a great comedian and he should make more films. His humor is actually funny. I just wish studios would give him more opportunities to make films because he is very funny. Unlike so many other "comedians", Gervais is always fun to watch on-screen. The Invention of Lying boasts a great, funny performance by Ricky Gervais, an engaging story and a great plot, and that's something lacking from many of today's comedies. If you're tired of unfunny comedies that try too hard at being funny by introducing crude content to try and make you laugh, give The Invention of Lying a view, this is a very funny and well done film.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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