Liar Liar

Liar Liar is another high-concept movie, this one directed by Tom
Shadyac, who also directed Jim
Carrey’s breakthrough film, Ace
Ventura, Pet Detective
. Here Carrey appears as Fletcher Reede, a shyster
lawyer whose five year old son, Max (Justin Cooper) makes a birthday wish that,
just for one day, his father cannot tell a lie. The mechanism by which this bit
of magic works is allowed to remain a mystery, but it does, and the adventures
of a habitual liar who cannot lie make up the humor (such as it is) of the film.
Some, it is true, will no doubt find more humor in the grotesque mugging and
manic energy of Mr Carrey—in short, the qualities which have made him
famous. But these frantic efforts to gain my approval leave me cold.

Fletcher is divorced from Max’s
mother, Audrey (Maura Tierney), and she is being wooed by a jerk of a hospital
administrator called Jerry (Cary Elwes). You know
he’s a jerk because he is reliable,
truthful, ingenuous and decent, and all without the intervention of supernatural
authority. Of course it would be hoping for too much for Fletcher actually to
learn anything from his own experience as an unwonted truth-teller—apart,
that is, from the safe Hollywood lesson that it is always good to spend more
time with your kids. He doesn’t even
suffer materially, and in a nasty divorce case where his whole strategy had been
based on lying, he simply finds another way to win. We
can’t have people thinking that it
actually might cost you something to be truthful. Still, there are some
good jokes based on the concept. The best comes when one of
Fletcher’s bad guy clients calls him
from jail, after having been arrested knocking over an ATM machine, for

Fletcher shouts into the phone:
“Stop breaking the law,

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