A wry case for atheism, The Invention of Lying would have sent many Americans into an uproar if anyone had bothered to see it. Ricky Gervais, who not only stars but also serves as co-writer and co-director, envisions a world much like ours, except for the fact that people are incapable of lying. One day Gervais’ Mark Bellison, a morose screenwriter whose imagination is limited to facts from history books, somehow lets slip a fib. And he likes it. Things get messy, of course, and to cover his tracks Mark comes up with what Gervais posits as the biggest whopper of all: the existence of God. This is all very funny in an uncomfortable, self-confessional way, even if it could use a stronger directorial vision (I can only imagine what someone like Peter Weir could have done with it). Also a bit disappointing is the wimpy ending, which backs off from the atheism and instead focuses on the conventional romance between Mark and a shallow babe (winningly played by Jennifer Garner).
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