Liar Liar Movie Review

Movie Review by Anthony Leong © Copyright 1997


If I keep making this face...will it get stuck like that?
Uh uh. As a matter of fact, some people make a very good living that way.

The full catalog of Jim Carrey's tools of the trade are on display in his rebound effort after the not-quite-as-successful-as-it-should-have-been "The Cable Guy": the manic delivery of sexual innuendoes, extreme facial contortions, unintelligible noise-making, wild physical comedy, and the lowest form of humor, flatulence jokes. And like all his previous forays on the big screen, such as "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", its sequel, and "Dumb and Dumber", it's all in good fun and bad taste.

Hey, Fletcher, how's it hanging?
Short, shriveled, and always to the left.

Reunited with AVPD director Tom Shadyac, Carrey plays Fletcher Reede, a quick-talking lawyer who makes a habit of telling lies every single minute of the day. He is divorced from his wife Audrey (Maura Tierney of "News Radio"), and though he loves his son Max (Justin Cooper) very much, he always manages to be a no-show for father-son bonding sessions. Unhappy with his honesty-challenged father, Max makes a wish before blowing out the candles at his fifth birthday party, which his father missed:

I wish, for just one day, Dad couldn't tell a lie.

Through some mystical phenomenon, Fletcher finds himself incapable of telling a lie for twenty-four hours. Not only does he find it awkward, given all the lies and half-truths he says in the normal course of a day, but his job security literally depends on it. He is about to made partner at the law firm he works at, but first he must win a divorce case for his bimbo client, Samantha Cole (Jennifer Tilly, the less talented sister)-- which can only be won by the bald-faced manipulation of the truth. Meanwhile, his ex-wife is about to move to Boston to shack up with her new bland beau, Jerry (Cary Elwes), which would prevent Fletcher from ever seeing his son again.

A burglar tried to break into my friend's house, fell through a skylight, and cut his leg on a knife on the kitchen counter. He sued her and won $8,000. Is that justice?
No. I woulda got him ten.

Though "Liar Liar" does satirize the legal profession and society norms in general and has a half-decent redemption character arc, the bulk of the movie merely jumps through a series of sequences where Fletcher attempts to overcome his sudden handicap, in his dealings with his coworkers, the police, and a crowded courtroom. Not too say that this movie isn't entertaining-- it is (it's even downright hilarious in some parts). It's just that the low brow juvenile humor does become overbearing at some points, and it is not as smart as it could be (now imagine if it was Steve Martin in the role... hmmm...).

Mrs. Cole, the only problem here is that after you've provided years of faithful service and loving support raising his
children - They are his?
Oh yeah. One for sure.
After all that, your husband wants to deny you a fair and equitable share of the marital assets based on one single act of indiscretion.
Seven.
What?
Seven single acts of indiscretion.
Whatever.

My favorite part of the movie is probably the closing credits. Here, out-takes from the movie are on display, much like those found at the end of Jackie Chan movies. It is here that you see the trying conditions under which Carrey's co-stars must work under, when he could spontaneously go off on a tangent, destroying everyone's composure-- and it's actually funnier than some of the material that was left in.

"Liar Liar" is fun to watch, mainly for Carrey's over-the-top comedic performance, and is probably one of his better movies (I can't believe I just said that...). Worth a look at if you're in the mood for a good laugh.


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