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Fall Arts Guide 2009 Best Bets: The Invention of Lying

The first feature written and directed by British comedian Ricky Gervais (The Office), opening September 25

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There are other things I'm looking forward to seeing this fall: Bright Star (September 25), which was hailed as a comeback for director Jane Campion (The Piano) when it premiered at Cannes; The Damned United (October 2), whose screenwriter, Peter Morgan (The Queen, Frost/Nixon), has no peer in transposing recent history to the big screen; Antichrist (October 23), the latest smack in the face from Lars von Trier (Dogville); and Fantastic Mr. Fox (November 6), a stop-motion animation of the Roald Dahl children's book directed by Wes Anderson (Rushmore). But the one I'm most curious about is The Invention of Lying, the first feature written and directed by British comedian Ricky Gervais. Last year Ghost Town established Gervais as a U.S. box office draw, but in that movie the abrasive personas of his British TV series (The Office, Extras) were sanded down to yield a more cuddly misanthrope. This new comedy sounds as if it has a little more bite: it takes place in an alternate reality where everyone tells the truth, and Gervais is a man who learns how to lie, gaining a considerable edge over everyone else.  Opens September 25. —J.R. Jones

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