LIAR LIAR (1997) 

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Jim Carrey
Maura Tierney
Jennifer Tilly
Justin Cooper
Amanda Donohue
Cary Elwes
Jason Bernard
Swoosie Kurtz
Mitch Ryan
Cheri Oteri

Tom Shadyac



Time: 86 mins.
Rating: PG
Genre: Comedy

Carrey jumps back on track in this hysterical courtroom comedy. ACE VENTURA may have launched his film career, but LIAR, LIAR solidifies him as one of the best comic actors of his generation. This film, about a lawyer who cannot tell a lie, starts with a great premise and moves happily along from there. In one of his more normal roles to date, Carrey plays a loving, yet career-minded father who learns that family is the most important thing in life. Yes, the film is mushy in parts, but you'll need that downtime to catch your breath in between belly laughs. Thankfully, this film is not half as gross as some of his other ventures, though he still uses physical comedy in the extreme.

The film's premise is simple – Fletcher Reede (Carrey, a prominent lawyer with a big case on the line, is forced to tell the truth for an entire day. Tired of his father's empty promises, Max (Cooper) uses his birthday wish to stop his father from lying. This magical wish comes true, bringing havoc to Fletcher's life. No matter how hard he tries, a lie cannot cross his lips. This premise should have worn thin fairly quickly, but Shadyac knows exactly how long to let Carrey run free. The film merely gets funnier and funnier as his frustration builds. Each situation is unique and out rightly funny as Carrey has to learn to spin the truth as a good thing, even when it isn't.

The moment when he discovers that he absolutely cannot lie (he tries to say that his blue pen is red) is one only Carrey could pull off – manic, physical and brilliant. Another standout moment has him in the hot seat in front of all the firm's partners, insulting them one by one with the greatest of ease and the funniest of results. Just when you think it couldn't get crazier or more offensive, Carrey cranks it up a notch, but never falls into the abyss. A classic screen moment. Of course, this is the day of his big trial and even though he has his son re-wish, he is stuck telling the truth, which we know in a trial is a big disaster. After much craziness, he ends up winning the case and discovers a valuable lesson about lying for your own personal gain. Rarely has learning a life lesson been so much fun.

"Well, you have to remember that when we were married, I wasn't having sex nearly as often as you were."

The earnestness of the father/son moments gets a little annoying at points, but at least Carrey gets to show a more mature side than his films usually allow. Maura Tierney has the thankless role as Fletcher's soon-to-be ex-wife. The role could have been one dimensional, however, there's depth and love to be found under all the exasperation. God knows any woman who could last more than a year with him deserves the Medal of Honor. Jennifer Tilly gives a good performance as Fletcher's ubur-bitchy, rich client. She's the villain of the piece and clearly enjoys every minute of it. Carrey and Shadyac prove with LIAR, LIAR that humor doesn't have to be gross to be funny. It also gives Carrey the chance to show his softer side, which is a nice change. This one idea flick delivers laugh after laugh by being clever, outrageous and brutally honest. One of Carrey's best.

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