The Invention of Lying

October 2nd, 2009

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The Invention of Lying

Still of Ricky Gervais in The Invention of LyingStill of Jennifer Garner and Ricky Gervais in The Invention of LyingFionnula Flanagan at event of The Invention of LyingStill of Rob Lowe and Ricky Gervais in The Invention of LyingStill of Jennifer Garner, Louis C.K. and Ricky Gervais in The Invention of LyingStill of Ricky Gervais in The Invention of Lying

A comedy set in a world where no one has ever lied, until a writer seizes the opportunity for personal gain.

Release Year: 2009

Rating: 6.4/10 (45,506 voted)

Critic's Score: 58/100

Director: Ricky Gervais

Stars: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Jonah Hill

It's a world where everyone tells the truth - and just about anything they're thinking. Mark Bellison is a screenwriter, about to be fired. He's short and chunky with a flat nose - a genetic pool that means he won't get to first base with Anna, the woman he loves. At a bank, on the spur of the moment he blurts out a fib, with eye-popping results. Then, when his mother's on her deathbed, frightened of the eternal void awaiting her, Mark invents fiction. The hospital staff overhear his description of Heaven, believe every word, and tell others. Soon Mark is a prophet, his first inventive screenplay makes him rich, and he's basically a good guy. But will that be enough for Anna?

Writers: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Ricky Gervais - Mark Bellison
Jennifer Garner - Anna McDoogles
Jonah Hill - Frank
Louis C.K. - Greg
Jeffrey Tambor - Anthony
Fionnula Flanagan - Martha Bellison
Rob Lowe - Brad Kessler
Tina Fey - Shelley
Donna Sorbello - Anna's Mother
Stephanie March - Blonde
Ruben Santiago-Hudson - Landlord
John Hodgman - Wedding Overseer
Nathan Corddry - News Reporter (as Nate Corddry)
Jimmi Simpson - Bob
Martin Starr - Waiter #1

Taglines: In a world where everyone can only tell the truth... ...this guy can lie.


Official Website: Official site | Ricky Gervais - Blog |

Release Date: 2 October 2009

Filming Locations: Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $18,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $7,027,472 (USA) (4 October 2009) (1707 Screens)

Gross: $18,439,082 (USA) (13 December 2009)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The film's credits are set in the Windsor typeface, used notably in the films of Woody Allen.

Incorrectly regarded as goofs: John Hodgman, as the "Wedding Overseer" looks to be wearing a crucifix. However, upon close examination, it is actually a likeness of Mark holding the "two pizza boxes", matching the image behind the "Wedding Overseer".

Brad Kessler: [to Anna's mom] Ok, you're annoying me. Your voice is shrill. Goodbye.

User Review

constantly funny it may not be, but clever it is

Rating: 8/10

There is a certain re-training of the mind that a film expects of us in order to fully enjoy the place it seeks to take us. This film, in the first act we are taught, in a rather funny way that the world of this film is to say the least - honest. Everyone coldly delivers, whether asked or not - exactly what is on their mind. It takes a good 1/4 of the film to fully understand exactly the world where there is no opposite to truth. And those moments are worth the price of admission alone.

As a viewer I enjoyed the random interactions that a world where truth is embedded in the framework of all social interaction. With no deviation.

By the time Gervais comes across the knowledge that an alternate way of communication exists in "saying what wasn't" we embark on a tale of a man who essentially won the "lying Lottery".

The humour is subtle, the contrast of religious themes are not so, and that may have been the weakest of elements in the film. Sadly those who think there is a single element of disrespect towards religion from within the world of the film are I believe incorrect. While religious digs may have been the impetus for the films creation, from within the film, Mark's character seems to make a clear delineation between an evil lie and a white lie. And his character never seems comfortable for too long with a lie that affects the lives of many.

The film does have a one of the more sweet and quietly powerful scenes where Mark creates an alternate afterlife for his mother. Because I don't view this film through a filter of religious expectation I found this scene to be simply powerful and poignant.

I enjoyed it, as did my partner. We talked the whole way home, and recreated some of the laughs on the way to the car. That is not a lie.

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