Liar Liar (1997)

liarliar_1997_poster
Liar Liar (1997)
  • Time: 86 min
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
  • Director: Tom Shadyac
  • Cast: Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tilly

Storyline:

Fletcher Reede, a fast talking attorney, habitual liar, and divorced father is an incredibly successful lawyer who has built his career by lying. He has a habit of giving precedence to his job and always breaking promises to be with his favorite young son Max, but Fletcher lets Max down once too often, for missing his own son’s birthday party. But until then at 8:15 Max has decided to make an honest man out of him as he wishes for one whole day his dad couldn’t tell a lie. When the wish comes true all Fletcher can do is tell the truth and cannot tell one lie. Uh-oh for Fletcher!

2 reviews

  • “Liar Liar” is a wonderfully funny movie. Full of laughs and Jim Carrey’s famous rubber-faced comedy. This movie has a very interesting concept and is filled with witty and outrageous humor. Once again Carrey has delivered another fine comedy with plenty of laugh out loud moments, everyone else in the film are also very good. Justin Cooper, the little boy who plays his son is absolutely adorable. The story is solid and legitimate as well, and it is well-presented and directed, resulting in a good, fun comedy. If you’ve had a really bad day, this movie is the one to watch. Brilliant!

  • By the middle to late 1990s, Jim Carrey had solidified his presence in Hollywood history by moving from Saturday Night Live skits to major box office grabs like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), The Mask (1994) and Batman Forever (1995). It seemed as if Carrey was destined to always play some kind of supernatural character that had no limits as well as not being able to live on the common social level at the time. That is until he starred in this movie. For this role, it was actually a step down from the weird and crazed out parts Carey had played in the past. It is by no means as toned down as his performance he would later play in The Truman Show (1998) but at this point, it was the beginning of that transition. The story follows Fletcher Reede (Carrey), a lawyer who loves doing what he does by unethically lying to get by; that also means his family. After missing out on his son’s birthday, Max (Justin Cooper) wishes that his dad couldn’t lie for one whole day, which ends up coming true.

    The catch is, Fletcher has a huge case coming up which if he wins (by lying) he could earn the big bucks. The script written by Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur and directed by Tom Shadyac (who has worked with Carrey before) prepare and execute the story properly. Specifically the way the characters are written is a big part. The Reede family show that his son and divorced wife Audrey (Maura Tierney) try endlessly to work with Fletcher’s schedule of lies but it wears thin quickly. Making things tougher is Jerry (Cary Elwes) a friend who’s moving out and wants Audrey and Max to come with him. Another large strain are the characters that take part in the court case, mainly Samantha Cole (Jennifer Tilly) the defendant and Fletcher’s boss Miranda (Amanda Donohoe). All of these smaller threads are taken care of and provide the right character development for Carrey’s role. The other interesting spin the writers put on this story is how the plot uses morals, ethics and social commentary on the judicial system as a backdrop for the entire message of the film.

    The only problem to the writing is the wish that Fletcher’s son, Max makes. Up and until the wish is made and takes full effect, the audience gets the idea that the world they are in is the real world. However, when the wish is made Fletcher can’t control himself. By what means made this come true and what’s keeping him from making a lie? Most would consider this very nitpicky and too critical but it is a giant question in the film’s story. Who has the power to grant these wishes? Do they apply to other children or people in general? All unanswered questions that probably the writers had no time to think about. The best supporting element to the story however is Jim Carrey’s comedy. These are the moments that allow Jim Carrey to be himself and be spontaneous with his responses were which many are sure most lines were unscripted. But it’s also not just the lines, the actions Fletcher takes to make sure that he doesn’t get himself into trouble is hilarious too. Some of which situations are so extreme it makes the viewer wonder if one would go to such measures too.

    The other elements that work in this film’s favor are the music and cinematography. The director of photography belongs to Russell Boyd who is competent in his work at getting the right shots from the courtroom to the office hallways. However, the best things Boyd does is when Fletcher starts going crazy. This leads to various angles at which the camera portrays other objects in the room as other living things. That’s clever because audiences then begin to believe the object being focused on is living. As for music composed by John Debney who didn’t have many well-known scores released at the time manages to pull off the comedic and dramatic scenes quite well. The only negative thing that can be said is that it sounds very dated with its familiar like 90s family comedy drama sound. It sounds so 90s. Finally the only other thing that dates the movie more than it should have were the visual style of the haircuts and dressers back then. Haircuts like Jerry’s are just really old looking now. Other than that it’s good.

    The dated sounding music and visual appearance of the actors don’t let it age well. Plus the reasoning behind how Max’s wish came true weren’t explored. But for the most part, the writing is spot on with well-developed characters, downright laugh out loud scenes, and the story’s subtext commentaries it addresses.

    Points Earned –> 7:10

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