DVD: The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying is a Ricky Gervais film (starring, co-written, co-directed). It’s a thought experiment – what would our world be like if everyone told the truth all the time? And such a world is a funny one, as we’d expect (I loved the coke commercial early in the film). Gervais plays the central character here: as is foreshadowed in the opening (and in the title), his character works out how to lie. The strength of the movie is that he uses this to good-hearted ends.

Confronted by the sight of his beloved mother fearing her impending death, he invents a theistic (but not quite Christian) religion, explaining that the (invisible) talking man in the sky will give everyone a mansion when they die. It’s a good insight into the way Gervais understands the place of religion in modern culture. 

There’s some sexual content in the film (dialogue only, but I wouldn’t show the film to a younger audience) but at its heart, it’s the same kind of romantic story arc that made something like The Office Christmas Special an enjoyable watch. Consistently funny, and helpful in the insights it provides to Gervais’ thinking.

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