Saturday, April 13, 2013

Liar Liar (1997)

Here's the thing about Jim Carrey- he can deliver a serious and heartfelt performance when you can rein him in and make him sit still for an hour and a half. He's like that ADHD-slash-spastic kid you knew in grammar school who ran laps around the classroom to the chagrin of an obese, middle-aged teacher who thought, in despair, I am NOT being paid enough for this.

"Liar Liar" gives Carrey the chance to spaz out, make ridiculous faces, and in one scene, literally beat himself up in a public bathroom. So don't expect the melancholic poignancy of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" or "The Truman Show." But if you want to laugh mindlessly at a comic actor at the height of his powers, this is one to give a watch.

Carrey plays Fletcher Reed, a slick lawyer who lies constantly, much to the exasperation and disappointment of his ex-wife Audrey (Maura Tierney) and son Max (Justin Cooper). Audrey is dating sweet but dopey Jerry (Carey Elwes of "As You Wish" stardom), but is ambivalent about taking the next step.

When Fletcher fails to show up for Max's fifth birthday, Max wishes that for one day, his dad couldn't tell a lie, which turns out to have unexpected consequences for Fletcher. When Fletcher wakes up the next day, he discovers that he is physically incapable of lying, and finds himself in big trouble when he is forced to support buxom bimbo Samantha Cole (Jennifer Tilly) in a court case.

Although the actors stand back as Jim Carrey takes center stage, doing what Jim Carrey does best -- being an unapologetic man-child -- the script is witty and sharp, taking full advantage of the outlandish premise. The movie does best when it is treading thoroughly ridiculous territory.

I didn't really buy the emotional scenes, for example, when Carrey screams "I hold myself in contempt," I laughed before realizing that the scene was meant to convey Fletcher's guilt and anguish. Was I being inappropriate, or was the scene just that silly? You decide.

"Liar Liar" is a funny comedy that doesn't have a lot of depth, but is a great good-mood film for the family, except the littlest members (the jokes can get a little risqué.) It proves that although serious Carrey is good, Jim Carrey is also talented when you simply let him fly off the handle. Good fun.


  1. Good review, Sarah! I am generally not a fan of Carrey's comedic roles (though I dearly love Eternal Sunshine). But this is a fun movie with several really funny scenes.

  2. Ya know, I just love Jim Carrey. This movie made me laugh so hard I cried. I know exactly that I hold myself in contempt scene. I found it funny and sad at once. He's definitely just wild in this, he must get exhausted.

  3. My favourite goofball Jim Carrey film. Also, the gag reel cracks me up. If this film is ever on TV, I can't resist watching it.

  4. I'm with Steph, in that I don't especially care for Carrey's more comedic roles, but I really did like this movie (and him in it). You've called it just right, Sarah, this movie is good fun!


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