The Invention of Lying

2009

The Invention of Lying

Critics Consensus

It doesn't quite follow through on its promise, and relies too heavily on shopworn romantic comedy tropes, but The Invention of Lying is uncommonly sly and funny.

56%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 188

39%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 667,149
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Movie Info

"The Invention of Lying" takes place in an alternate reality in which lying--even the concept of a lie--does not even exist. 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 a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, he finds that dishonesty has its rewards. 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 realize 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.

Cast

Ricky Gervais
as Mark Bellison
Jennifer Garner
as Anna McDoogles
Fionnula Flanagan
as Martha Bellison
Rob Lowe
as Brad Kessler
Tina Fey
as Shelley
Donna Sorbello
as Anna's Mother
John Hodgman
as Wedding Overseer
Nathan Corddry
as News Reporter
Martin Starr
as Waiter #1
Christopher Guest
as Nathan Goldfrappe
Alton Fitzgerald White
as Angelo Badsmith
Philip Seymour Hoffman
as Jim the Bartender
Roz Ryan
as Nurse #1
Arnie Burton
as Waiter at Fancy Restaurant
Ashlie Atkinson
as Bank Teller
Bobby Moynihan
as Assistant
Shaun Williamson
as Richard Bellison
Stephen Merchant
as Man at the Door
Cole Jensen
as Short Fat Brian
Lisa Paige Robinson
as Arguing Girlfriend
Matthew Stadelmann
as Arguing Boyfriend
Jared Vos
as Person #1
Jessica Baade
as Person #2
Elena Wohl
as Person #3
Donald Foley
as Yelling Man
Dennis Lemoine
as Young Man
Joe Wong
as Man #2
Armen Garo
as Man #6
Dreama Walker
as Receptionist
Ellen Colton
as Woman #3
Erica Newhall
as Woman #5
Nydia Calon
as Woman #6
Hope Farley
as Woman #7
Paul Donlon
as Elderly #1
Mauriel Gold
as Elderly #2
Mary Klug
as Elderly #3
Rachel Harker
as Woman in Business Suit
Brett Cramp
as Crying Man
Toni Saladna
as Cocktail Waitress
Guy Strauss
as Pit Man
Nick Towne
as Roulette Dealer
Tate Ellington
as Waiter #2
Ken Cheeseman
as Shouting Man
David Pittu
as Tour Guide
Danielle Perry
as Hostess in LaBonisera
Joseph Badalucco Jr.
as Blue Collar Guy
Doug Bowen-Flynn
as Terrorist #1
Celeste Oliva
as Secretary
Jake Watkins
as Bully Kid
Valerie Hager
as Talking Head Woman
Alison Quinn
as Talking Head Woman
Mitchell Roche
as Talking Head Man
View All

News & Interviews for The Invention of Lying

Critic Reviews for The Invention of Lying

All Critics (188) | Top Critics (47) | Fresh (105) | Rotten (83)

  • I kid you not when I say I sat there wondering is there nothing more to this film? Am I overlooking something? I don't think so, and I couldn't wait for the lights to go up.

    Jan 16, 2018 | Full Review…

    Ed Koch

    The Atlantic
    Top Critic
  • Fans of Gervais from the classic TV shows Extras and The Office will enjoy the half-sentences, stop-start comic delivery and awkward pauses that have become his trademark.

    Nov 26, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • There are cycles of inspiration and rebirth, but the barbed promise of the early going loses its way in choices aimed at sentimentality rather than, as Harvey Kurtzman memorably put it, humor in a jugular vein.

    Nov 22, 2009 | Rating: C- | Full Review…
  • It's bogged down in too many squishy romantic-comedy pieties.

    Oct 5, 2009
  • I think the first half hour would be almost impossible to sustain because it is so inspired.

    Oct 5, 2009
  • The last third of the movie is as bad as anything I've seen this year, with the laughs trailing off, and half of the supporting characters, the zestier ones, being airbrushed from the frame.

    Oct 5, 2009 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Invention of Lying

  • Dec 30, 2013
    In a world where everyone tells the truth (even when unprovoked - a nit at which this and many other reviewers have picked), Mark Bellison discovers that he can lie and uses that superpower for good...for the most part. The love story arc of Anna figuring out what she wants in a mate is well-paced with a nice moment of her defending the chubby kid who got ice cream smashed in his face by the better-gened kids. Mark's weepy moment of describing a Kindergartener's conception of Heaven to his frightened, dying mother is lovely, but the rest of his Christian scripture is a bit slapstick, and I was disappointed that the movie didn't make more of a comment on spiritual solace, the truth and lies of religion, and Truth's partner: Consequences. Ricky Gervais does his cheeky hosting bit in the proselytizing scenes, but he actually gets rather endearing and emotional throughout the movie. I do love seeing PSH in oafish comedic roles, and I'm digging Louis C.K.'s Above Average Schmo schtick more and more. Jennifer Garner is also requisitely frosty and vapid, then tender and sweet. I especially dig Anna's deleted scene monologue of her appeal, which says so much about real-life Millennial women, female romantic leads in movies, and Anna's own character who just comes off as flatly bitchy at first: "In fact, there are very few things in life I care that much about. The only things I have to offer myself, or anyone else are my good looks and my affected sense of quirkiness which artistically inclined men interpret as intellect. I think my best trait is the fact that I've made very few mistakes. Socially, academically, financially, romantically. I take very few risks and therefore lead a relatively happy, light-hearted existence. Mostly though, I am a kind, sweet person with the potential of genuinely becoming a vital and interesting human being the day I take the energy I expend on hyper-self-reflexivity and apply it to actual action in the reality of my life."
    Alice S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2013
    Incredibly unique and up front. Despite relying too much on having great dialogues, it still managed to stand out. The comedy seemed a bit too dark for some people's taste but I found it being quite amusing.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Sep 29, 2012
    This movie has such an interesting premise. What if there was no such thing as lying?
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 24, 2012
    The Invention of Lying is a terrific comedy directed by the great Ricky Gervais. This is a smartly crafted film with great acting and it has a wonderful script and story. If you want a fun little comedy, this is the film to watch. Ricky Gervais is always a pleasure to watch, and in The Invention of Lying, he gives a great performance. I very much loved the film, the cast was well chosen, and each brought something great to the screen. This was a refreshing comedy, compared to others who rely on vulgar, crude content, which is ok, but gets tiresome after awhile. This film relied more on traditional comedy elements to make you laugh, and most certainly did that. The film has plenty of charm, and Ricky Gervais definitely knows what can make you laugh. He is one of the best comedic actors out there, and if you're tired of the same old Adam Sandler garbage, check out Gervais' work. The humor is good, and it was lots of fun from start to finish. The film was slow at times, but what kept me interested was the cast that gave good performances. This is a fine comedy, and there should be more comedies like this that should be made. Gervais is a great comedian and he should make more films. His humor is actually funny. I just wish studios would give him more opportunities to make films because he is very funny. Unlike so many other "comedians", Gervais is always fun to watch on-screen. The Invention of Lying boasts a great, funny performance by Ricky Gervais, an engaging story and a great plot, and that's something lacking from many of today's comedies. If you're tired of unfunny comedies that try too hard at being funny by introducing crude content to try and make you laugh, give The Invention of Lying a view, this is a very funny and well done film.
    Alex r Super Reviewer

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