Pants on Fire! The Inspired Invention of Lying

In Ricky Gervais' new comedy, a few inspired lies go a long way

Louis C.K. as Greg, left, Ricky Gervais as Mark Bellison and Jennifer Garner as Anna McDoogles in The Invention of Lying

Ricky Gervais must know he's cute. Cute like the grinning kid in the back row of a sixth-grade classroom, smiling at the teacher as he mutters a rude observation about how she looks from behind. He's cartoon-animal round and ingratiatingly impish. Yet Gervais, in films and on TV, keeps harping on his diminutive stature and lack of a heroic jawline. He might almost be begging for the viewer to reply, "No, you're not at all tremendously unattractive. The word for you, Ricky, would be cute."

In his funny, agreeable, airily subversive parable The Invention of Lying, on which he shared writing...

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