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The Invention of Lying (2009)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Fantasy  |  2 October 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 90,396 users   Metascore: 58/100
Reviews: 281 user | 190 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

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

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1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Donna Sorbello ...
Waiter #1


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 setup 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? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

love | truth | lie | screenwriter | heaven | See All (222) »


In a world where everyone can only tell the truth... ...this guy can lie. See more »


Comedy | Fantasy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for language including some sexual material and a drug reference | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:

| |  »



Release Date:

2 October 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

This Side of the Truth  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$18,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,735,326 (UK) (2 October 2009)


$18,439,082 (USA) (11 December 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


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


When the policeman pulls Greg out of the car, you can see that the car is equipped with automatic seat belts, and at no point can you see that the lap belt is buckled. Therefore Greg could be easily pulled out of the car as the shoulder belt retracts, which is shown when the door opens. See more »


Greg: This is the most amazing night of my entire life.
Mark Bellison: Think how amazing if you didn't smell of vomit.
See more »


Featured in The Jay Leno Show: Episode #1.6 (2009) See more »


Written by Cat Stevens (as Yusuf Islam)
Performed by Elvis Costello
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Clever concept that never reaches its full potential
7 October 2009 | by (England) – See all my reviews

In a world where people can only tell the truth, Ricky Gervais creates the lie. What follows this simple concept with great potential is a series of quick fire jokes made funny by the sheer bluntness of the absolute truth. The screenplay is lightly comical but rarely laugh-out-loud funny and continually relies on the same concept.

As the plot progresses, it veers from quick-fire jokes to a parody of religion. On the one hand, this offers an interesting and thought-provoking reflection; however, I found the developing plot to become mildly preachy and irritating to watch. The humour level drops and the religious overtones and romantic subplot overshadow the interesting idea.

Visually, I found the film to be rather drab and dreary. Similarly, I didn't care for the dowdy and monotonous score and soundtrack choices. I understand that these are probably intended to represent a world without fiction, but they make the film a little tedious to watch and don't add anything to the movie. I enjoyed Jenifer Garner's performance as Gervais' love interest which she's plays with harsh yet likable realism, but Gervais' lead performance left me a little cold. In combination with lacklustre screenplay, I was left unimpressed with the utilisation of a potentially hilarious and fascinating concept.

The Invention of Lying is a quiet, simple movie on the surface, but underneath lies a more complex, thought-provoking moral allegory, albeit one that fails to deliver anything truly remarkable. It tries to be clever, but fails to deliver.


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