[[caption-width-right:300: [[BlatantLies Not]] the movie poster.]]

->''"Today I stumbled upon something that no man has ever stumbled upon before. They'll write about me in history books for generations to come. And yet, moments ago, it was unfathomable not only to myself but to mankind as a whole. It's hard to describe but it was as easy as... how do I explain this, I said something that wasn't!"''

''The Invention of Lying'' is a 2009 comedy film written, produced, and directed by--and starring--Creator/RickyGervais, who heads an AllStarCast that includes Creator/JenniferGarner, Creator/RobLowe, Creator/LouisCK, Creator/JonahHill, and Creator/TinaFey. It takes place [[InAWorld in a world]] that has no concept of fiction, philosophy, hypothesis or deceit.

In this world of brutal honesty we find our protagonist, Mark Bellison (Gervais), at the end of a particularly terrible day. When these events finally come to a close, he's lost his job, flat broke and facing certain eviction from his apartment. Then when all seems hopeless, he's struck by the finest EurekaMoment in recorded history. Mark becomes the first person to come up with the idea of intentional deception. HilarityEnsues. [[FirstLawOfTragicomedies At first.]]

The film depicts a world identical to our own, minus the ability to deceive or withhold the truth in any shape or form. This results in people being [[BrutalHonesty brutally honest]] and always saying exactly what they're thinking at a given time. The film initially deals with Mark utilizing his new talent for personal gain but then moves toward dealing with the more complex concepts of religion and love. The movie's take on "absolute truth" and the latter half of the story have proven very polarizing.

!!This film contains examples of:
* AffectionateParody[=/=]DeconstructiveParody: Manages to do both types of parodies to religion (particularly Christianity). On one hand it presents religion as a made up lie by Mark originally as a way to comfort his dying mother, then completely snowballing from there with Mark making it up as he goes. On the other hand it's presented as a good thing that gives people hope, even though its basis is a complete fabrication.
* AllMenArePerverts: When Mark asks what they would do if they could do anything, the guys at the bar unanimously agree it's get women naked and have sex with them.
* AlternateUniverse
* BeardOfSorrow: Mark grows one near the end of the film.
* BlatantLies: When nobody even knows what a lie ''is'', you can get away with some outlandish stuff.
* BleakAbyssRetirementHome: "A Sad Place for Hopeless Old People".
* BrutalHonesty: Absolutely every method of withholding the truth is alien to this world. That includes lying, omitting the truth, telling only part of the truth, and being at all tactful.
* TheCameo: Philip Seymour Hoffman (as a bartender), Creator/ChristopherGuest (as an "actor"), Creator/EdwardNorton (as a policeman), John Hodgman (as a "priest"), Creator/JasonBateman as a doctor, Creator/StephenMerchant as a rich homeowner, and a few others.
* CannotTellALie: ''Everyone''. It gets to the point where nobody has any imagination. The closest thing to a movie is some guy in a chair reading about history. The fact that Mark can actually give false information is something his friends have trouble grasping, to the point that he gives up a few minutes after trying to explain.
* CessationOfExistence: Mark's Mom says "Death is a horrible thing... Few more hours like this and then an eternity of nothingness."
* CrapsaccharineWorld
* CreativeSterility: In a world without lies, many things just don't exist, thus all movies are documentaries recounting fact and history since they have nowhere else to go, creatively speaking. Mark discovers his ability to lie when he accidentally creates the concept of fraud to avoid becoming destitue. Then, he invents fiction by returning to his job as a film maker having "found" an incredibly emotional tale about aliens, and then a second one about a talking duck. They become the highest grossing films in history.
* DarwinistDesire: Marriage is based only on the perceived genetic fitness of a potential mate. The romantic interest is struggling with picking between this trope and her love of the protagonist.
** The ability to lie in a world where people only tell the truth is actually a pretty amazing advantage. [[spoiler: And the ending shows his kid has the same ability, so he probably ''is'' the "fitter" choice]]
* ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin: Most of the buildings and public works seem to have been named in this way. An old folks' home is emblazoned with "A Sad Place for Hopeless Old People" while the church which appears late in the movie is "A Quiet Place to Think About the Man in the Sky".
* {{Fanservice}}: Jennifer Garner cheerfully and innocently talking about masturbating.
* FirstLawOfTragicomedies: For the first half, it's the wacky hijinks of a man lying and everyone accepting it. [[spoiler: Then Mark's mom dies]] and it becomes a serious deconstruction of religion, love and blind worship.
* HalfwayPlotSwitch: From a man who learns to lie in a world of truth to a deconstruction of love and religion.
* HighConcept: Of a world where lying never came to be.
%% * HilarityEnsues:
* HumansAreBastards: In a world without lies or deceit, it seems a great many of us are in fact shallow, self-involved, [[{{Jerkass}} Jerkasses]] who place physical looks over love and family.
* InSpiteOfANail: Somehow, a world without deceit, lies, and in this case, religion, still wound up exactly the same in every other respect.
* LikeRealityUnlessNoted: The key difference in this world being the complete absence of lying.
* LookBehindYou: Used so Mark can [[spoiler: cheat at roulette]]: "Look at that unusual thing! I've never... oh, it's gone now."
* MessianicArchetype: The film has been called "''Film/BruceAlmighty'' for atheists." The Mark-Is-Jesus symbology ''could not'' be more explicit - walking around "healing" people, bringing religion to the world, even [[spoiler: his hair and beard]] in the penultimate scene - without Mark actually getting crucified at the end. [[spoiler: He doesn't. The symbol of the religion Mark founds is a crucifix-like portrayal of Mark-as-''Moses'', with his arms outstretched holding the pizza boxes that his commandments were written on.]]
* NarratingThePresent: In the manuscript Mark "finds" it mentions him finding it. Since it's in the manuscript it must be true, right?
* NeverTrustATrailer: The trailers highlighted the concept and some of the hijinks, while completely ignoring the religion-heavy dramatic second half.
* ProductPlacement:
** For Budweiser. Everywhere.
** "Pepsi: [[TakeThat When they don't have Coke]]."
** The Ten Commandments are brought to you by Pizza Hut.
* PlotTumor: Once religion is brought into the plot it takes over the remainder of the movie.
* PolitenessJudo: Used on Mark's father by the man he was burglarizing. When he told the homeowner there was nothing he could do, since he didn't know Mr. Bellison's name, the homeowner then asked "What's your name?" ...which he answered. At least he got a cup of tea out of it.
* PowerPerversionPotential: Mark is tempted but ultimately doesn't use his abilities to have sex with lots of women or even win over the women he loves for that matter. [[spoiler: He's actually deeply ashamed he nearly abused his talent.]] Although abusing his talent for financial and social gain is well within his moral boundaries.
* RefugeInAudacity: Think of what the world's first liar ultimately invents - religion.
** It was more of an accident; he was only trying to [[spoiler: comfort his dying mother by telling her there was life after death]]; someone else overheard him. The invention of religion was just a cover.
* RunningGag: Mark being called a "snub-nosed fat man".
* SelfProclaimedLiar: {{Justified}} because no one in this world can wrap their heads around the concept of lying.
* SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism: The main concept behind the plot; what would happen if a [[RunningJoke snub-nosed fat man]] with no friends or money [[LonersAreFreaks learned to]] [[TheCynic lie and deceive]] in a world of [[WideEyedIdealist overly trustworthy]] beautiful people?
* SuperGullible: No one has ever heard a lie before, so lines like "I'm not here" and "we have to have sex right now or else the world will end" are taken at face value.
* TakeThat:
** Religion is made of lies! However, the intended message is muddied in FridgeLogic. Ricky Gervais ''is'' an atheist, which may explain some things...
** A subtle one towards the entire film industry. In a world where movies are simply single shots of someone reading a script, the most famous and respected people in Hollywood are... [[WritersSuck the screenwriters]].
* TooMuchInformation: How the lack of lying is often portrayed. "Hi. I just finished masturbating."