After the awful The Invention Of Lying and his lame contribution to the Golden Globes, Ricky Gervais is in need of a comeback.

It arrives in the form of his latest directorial offering, Cemetery Junction – a funny, touching coming-of-age flick, which is packed with wonderful performances.

Set in 1970s Reading, the film focuses on the exploits of three lads who are going through some serious growing pains.

Freddie (Christian Cooke) is trying to get ahead in life by joining an insurance firm, something that causes friction with mates Bruce (Tom Hughes),   a rebel without a clue, and Snork (Jack Doolan), a dullard with few social skills.

When Freddie runs into old flame Julie (Felicity Jones), who’s the daughter of his boss (Ralph Fiennes) and is married to an arrogant colleague, the youngster has to make some tough choices.

Despite lacking originality and subtlety, Cemetery Junction still works thanks to razor-sharp dialogue penned by Gervais and the film’s co-director Stephen Merchant.

Saving some of the best lines for himself, Gervais also steps in front of the camera as Freddie’s objectionable dad in what is a sublime comedic turn.

His performance is matched by a quartet of young actors we’ll hear a lot more about.

Good for: Gervais fans.