When Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying came out, one got the feeling that audiences — and even the studio — weren't sure what they had. It is an amusing and intelligent conceit, with a number of hilarious lines.
In it, Gervais plays Mark Bellison, a second-rate screenwriter in a world that is a mirror of our own. The difference is that no one — not your neighbors or your mates or ad people or even politicians — ever tells an untruth.
Honesty can be brutal and crazy and boring. The films that Mark writes are the equivalent of those mind-numbing documentaries screened for adolescents in school. He goes on a date with the tall beauty Anna (Jennifer Garner), and the waiter tells him he's out of her league.
Directed by Gervais (who created The Office and Extras), The Invention of Lying has a lot of comic setups that pay off, with cameos by guest stars Christopher Guest, Jason Bateman, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Jeffrey Tambor. It doesn't work as a coherent film, but it is Gervais on his own very funny terms.
The Invention of Lying retails for $28.98 and $35.99 on Blu-ray.