The Invention of Lying (12A)

RICKY Gervais makes his debut in the Hollywood directors chair with a comedy which garnered considerable praise at its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. The Hollywood Reporter said the first half hour is sharply fresh, clever and laugh-out-loud hil

RICKY Gervais makes his debut in the Hollywood directors' chair with a comedy which garnered considerable praise at its premiere at the Toronto Film Festival.

The Hollywood Reporter said the first half hour is "sharply fresh, clever and laugh-out-loud hilarious".

So far, so good.

THE INVENTION OF LYING (12A) takes place in an alternate reality in which lying - even the concept of a lie - does not exist.


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Everyone, from politicians to advertisers to the man and woman on the street, speaks the truth and nothing but the truth, with no thought of the consequences.

But when loser Mark Bellison (Gervais) suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards.

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In a world where every word is assumed to be the absolute truth, Mark easily lies his way to fame and fortune.

But lies have a way of spreading, and Mark begins to realise that things are getting a little out of control when some of his tallest tales are being taken as, well, gospel.

With the entire world now hanging on his every word, there is only one thing Mark has not been able to lie his way into - the heart of the woman he loves.

Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jennifer Garner, Rob Lowe and Tina Fey provide a strong supporting cast.

Gervais, who brought us hit TV comedies The Office and Extras and who co-wrote the film, says: "Believe it or not, I've cast myself as a tubby, middle-aged loser - it's a stretch."

He explains: "Mark writes for a film company, but in this world, films are simply people reading historical facts or scientific facts on camera. Titles like The Invention of the Fork, things like that.

"Mark is lumbered with the 14th century, and no one wants to see that. It's depressing. It's just the Black Plague.

" Then he gets fired. But when he discovers he can lie...he can tell the greatest stories ever told."

Jennifer Garner is the object of his affections and as the film opens, they are embarking on their first date.

Producer Lynda Obst says: "Jen is an amazing comedienne. Her timing and her deadpan performance as Anna just light up the screen.

"It's a critical part because Anna is the person through whom we first discover the unconscious way they speak in this world."

Along with all the Hollywood A-list names, a couple of Office and Extras regulars appear - Stephen Merchant and Shaun Williamson.

Merchant says: "Ricky's method of working is always the same. Which is to do it as quickly as possibly so he can get home and into his pyjamas.

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