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The Invention of Lying casts Ricky Gervais as world's first liar (1)

It's true: Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying serves as a virtual celebration of untruths by presenting a world in which deceit and falsehood do not exist. As inventions go, the lie proves nearly as significant as fire or the wheel.

Conversation is candid and merciless in Lying's alternate America. In the first scene, pudgy screenwriter Mark Bellison (Gervais) takes gorgeous, successful Anna McDoogles (Jennifer Garner) on a date. Early on she mentions, "I just masturbated." Mark: "That makes me horny. I hope this date ends in sex." Anna: "I don't find you attractive."

Gervais and his co-writer/co-director Matthew Robinson push the premise to fascinating lengths. Advertising, of course, is hilariously blunt: "Coke. It's very famous." Lying's citizens suffer from stunted imaginations, so stores and buildings don't have fanciful names but generic designations. Gervais' mother lives at a rest home called "A Sad Place For Hopeless Old People."

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(Image by Sam Urdank)