Can you imagine a world where no one ever lies? Where people always say exactly what they think? That’s the premise of Ricky Gervais’ directorial debut and it’s a fascinating, stimulating concept.

But no lying also means no imagination or storytelling. Movies, for instance, are simply someone reading a lecture on historical events. Mark Bellison (Gervais) is a scriptwriter for such films.

Unfortunately his topic – the Black Plague – isn’t very popular and he’s fired. And the girl he’s besotted with, Anna (Garner), makes it clear she doesn’t find him attractive.

Then Mark has an epiphany: he finds he can “say things that aren’t” – lying. And when he comforts his dying mother by telling her she’s going to a place of eternal happiness he inadvertently invents religion.

The film tries to be too many things – a mind-spinning fantasy, a comment on people’s gullibility and a spoof on religion, before sadly petering out into formulaic romcom – but it’s an entertaining ride and Gervais is as funny as ever. Bonus: lots including a prequel and featurettes.

DVD: The Invention of Lying, 2009, 100 min, 13 PGL Genre: Comedy-drama With: Ricky Gervais, Jennifer Garner and Rob Lowe Directed by: Ricky Gervais and Matthew Robinson. 13 PGL.