In a world that has no concept of telling anything but the complete and brutally honest truth, Mark Bellison is a writer who has very little going for him. He has very average looks, is about to be fired from his job and evicted from his home and he seems unable to get a girlfriend. One day, without knowing he can, he suddenly tells a lie to save his skin and from that moment onwards, the world is his oyster. When he tells his mother a story of what happens after you die, his life is turned upside down when the world’s press hears about it.

The Invention Of Lying (2009) – Directors: Ricky Gervais, Matthew Robinson

Is The Invention of Lying appropriate for kids

Rating: 12

Running Length: 100 mins

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner, Louis CK

Genre: Comedy, Romance


This movie could have been a sweet comedy about the effects that one person’s selfish actions could have on a naive society. It could have been a witty critique of modern social issues. It could also have provided an interesting perspective on the part that religion plays in the world. Unfortunately, ‘The Invention of Lying’ was none of these things. What starts as an ok but mediocre comedy devolves significantly into a messy anti-Christian rant. No other religions are touched upon and the sheer lack of research that has been made into religion essentially makes the second half of the movie a childish tantrum. There is no concept of faith or any message of goodwill, there is only the message that people are stupid to believe such lies. No other subjects are touched on in this way.

Religion aside, the plot of this movie is unbelievable and inconsistent. In a society which should have evolved the ability to tell the truth diplomatically, the inhabitants of this world are superficial and foolish, having to broadcast everything they are thinking to one another. When something brutally honest and rude is said, the other person reacts by being insulted although it would make more sense if this was just an accepted part of life. Sometimes people believe Gervais’ lies without question, other times they don’t believe him at all. ‘The Invention of Lying’ could have been so much more but ended up being more of an ego-trip for its star/director, but then as Mr Gervais himself might say, ‘ooh, your opinion’.


The majority of the questionable content in ‘The Invention of Lying’ comes from the frequent sexual references. Early in the movie, Gervais’ character, Mark Bellison, visits a woman’s house to take her out on a date and her masturbation is suddenly the central theme for a few minutes. Later, after discovering his ability to lie, he sits in a bar with his friends and tries to convince them of what has happened. He asks what they would do if they could do anything they wanted. One says that he’d ‘touch girls’ boobs, and maybe have sex with them’. To prove his point, Mark leaves the bar and lies to the first attractive woman he sees. They go to a motel but Mark has second thoughts; however the intention to take advantage of her to impress his friends was still there. Later in the movie, it is Mark’s birthday and a female character gives him a coupon for sex saying ‘What do you get the man who has everything’, despite making it very clear that she has no romantic feelings for him.

One character drives a car while being heavily intoxicated; he is stopped by a cop but Mark, as the passenger, manages to talk their way out of any consequences. Another character is severely depressed and makes several references to suicide whenever he is onscreen. When he is first introduced, he tells Mark that he has been ‘throwing up painkillers all night as (I’m) too afraid to actually kill (myself)’. One character is rushed into hospital and is callously informed by the doctor that she is going to die. A loved one is by her bedside and is distressed to see how scared she is. He manages to comfort her but in doing so, upsets himself and sobs as he talks to her.

There is also an undercurrent of sexism that women should only be interested in a partner who has strong genetics in order to procreate and have attractive children. The woman’s place is very much in the home and while women are afraid of becoming ‘ugly’ in old age, there is no such concern for men.



Sadly, ‘The Invention of Lying’ is barely anything more than a mediocre comedy. It has no charm or wit to support it and is crass for the sake of being crass. Jennifer Garner adds nothing as the female lead and her superficial character is not one that can be warmed to or believed to be the love of Mark’s life. Due to the dialogue and sexual references, we would not recommend this movie for kids under the age of 12.

  • Violence:  0/5
  • Emotional Distress: 2/5
  • Fear Factor: 0/5
  • Sexual Content: 4/5       
  • Bad Language: 5/5 (frequent mild to moderate cursing and blasphemy; several stronger words are also used. Some homophobic language)
  • Dialogue: 4/5 (references to suicide, drug taking and casual sex) 
  • Other notes: Deals with themes of the advantage of manipulating people with lies (for good and bad reasons), judging someone on their personality rather than their looks and what the true motivations of love should be.

Words by Laura Record

The Invention of Lying [Blu-ray] [Region Free]

New From: £10.39 GBP In Stock

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