Ricky Gervais's directorial film debut, The Invention of Lying, is more of a science-fiction thought experiment than a romantic comedy. Gervais stars as Mark Bellison, a below-average Joe and the first dishonest man in a world without "deceit or flattery or fiction"—a power that, in a purely credulous society, amounts to mind control. Despite some jarringly mawkish moments (Gervais is, at heart, painfully sincere), the conceit makes for some brilliant details: A nursing home becomes "A SAD PLACE FOR HOPELESS OLD PEOPLE," advertising loses all meaning ("Coke: It's Very Famous"), and dating turns into balls-out eugenics. It's weird. It's funny. (See Movie Times: thestranger.com/film.)