Box art for The Invention of Lying

The Invention of Lying

comedy, romance

In an alternate reality where even the concept of a lie doesn't exist, a down-on-his-luck loser named Mark suddenly develops the ability to lie, and finds that dishonesty has its rewards.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

PAUSE for kids age 14
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
2 out of 5
Positive role models
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
1 out of 5
4 out of 5

Gervais' irreverent fable isn't meant for kids.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Invention of Lying is, like most of star Ricky Gervais' humor, irreverent and edgy (though also thought provoking). Nothing is sacred -- including religion (in the movie, the concept of God, aka "The Man in the Sky," is one of the lies that the main character invents). There's no sex on screen, but there's lots of talk about it -- including masturbation references, propositions, use of words like "boobies," etc. Expect a fair bit of salty language, from name-calling ("prick," "bastard," "faggot," "manbitch") to infrequent use of "f--k" and "s--t." Characters drink beer, wine, champagne, and whiskey; there's some drunkenness, and a man is shown driving while intoxicated. Lots of commercial products are shown on screen, with some showing up in scene after scene.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about how the movie uses laughter to address some important ideas. Did it make you think in new ways about concepts like honesty, lying, and faith?
  • There are "bad" and "good" lies (fibs or white lies) in this film. Arethere times when you've not told the truth to avoid hurting someone? Are there times when a fib is better than the facts?
  • In the movie, much importance is placed on how people look -- and the necessity of having "beautiful children." What is the movie is saying about body image and our obsession with attractiveness?
  • How did the filmmakers convey that the story took place in a fantasyworld? Did the settings, characters, and dialogue help you accept thatworld?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: It's bogged down in too many squishy romantic-comedy pieties.

- A.O. Scott, At the Movies, Monday, October 5, 2009

Rotten: 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.

- Anthony Lane, New Yorker, Monday, October 5, 2009

Rotten: It] does have its moments -- most of them courtesy of Gervais and his very specific brand of self-deprecating, always equivocating comedy -- just not nearly enough of them.

- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times, Friday, October 2, 2009

Audience Reviews

2 stars

Oh dear this looked ok from the trailer. Thought it would be a mix of Liar, Liar with Bruce Almighty. Unfortunately n where near as funny as those two. In fact for a comedy apart from the main plot running through the film, it tries to be a bit too serious for a comedy. As a result not that much to laugh at here. I expected a lot better and was let down.

- Deano78, Thursday, September 13, 2012

4 stars

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.

- TheDudeLebowski65, Sunday, June 24, 2012

4 stars

A really clever well written film.

- fb100000883534329, Saturday, January 7, 2012