This Side of the Truth, the next Ricky Gervais movie (in which he plays a man who lives in a world where no one has ever lied, and where he invents and profits on the concept), is a brilliant script. One of the funniest I have ever read, a script that had me laughing out loud and drawing angry glances on a plane. But the buzz from test screenings has been poisonous. People seem to hate the finished film, and it’s been sort of kicking around the release schedule for a while.

If the film doesn’t work, Gervais will need something to fall back on fast, and that something appears to be Cemetary Junction, which he co-wrote with Stephen Merchant, who will be directing. You’ll remember that Gervais and Merchant are the masterminds behind the original, actually funny The Office and Extras. It’s been two years since they last collaborated, and this period comedy (it’s set in London in the 70s), which starts filming this June, is their big rematching.

Twitchfilm has the full details of the story: “In 1970s England, three blue-collar friends spend their days joking, drinking, fighting and chasing girls. Freddie (Christian Cooke) wants to leave their working-class world but
cool, charismatic Bruce (Tom Hughes) and lovable loser Snork (Jack
Doolan) are happy with life the way it is.When Freddie gets a new job as a door-to-door salesman and bumps into
his old school sweetheart Julie (Felicity Jones), the gang are forced
to make choices that will change their lives forever.”

I don’t know what role Gervais is playing here (and Twitch also says that Ralph Fiennes co-stars), but he and Merchant are apparently name dropping the British New Wave films as their inspiration. We’re not talking skinny ties and synths but rather the British film movement of the 60s that gave us films like The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, Look Back in Anger, Billy Liar and Tom Jones. That’s a pretty lofty goal to set for themselves, but if anybody can get that real life, quasi-documentarian thing, it’s these two.