PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):
In Los Angeles, California Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is a career-focused lawyer and divorced father. He loves spending time with his young son Max (Justin Cooper); they often play a game where Fletcher makes his hand into “the Claw” and pretends to chase Max with it. But Fletcher has a habit of giving precedence to his job, breaking promises to Max and his ex-wife Audrey (Maura Tierney), and then lying about the reasons. Fletcher’s compulsive lying has also built him a reputation as one of the best defense lawyers in the state of California as he is climbing the ladder in the firm for which he works. Ultimately, Fletcher misses his son’s fifth birthday party because he is having sex with his boss Miranda (Amanda Donohoe), in the hopes of making partner. Max makes a birthday wish that his father would be unable to tell a lie for an entire day — a wish that immediately becomes true.
Fletcher soon discovers, through a series of embarrassing incidents — such as when he tells Miranda that he has “had better” sex than he just did with her — that he is unable to lie, mislead, or even withhold a true answer. These incidents are inconvenient, as he is fighting a divorce case in court which, should he win, could be a huge boost to his career. His client is the self-centered, money grabbing Samantha Cole (Jennifer Tilly). His main witness is willing to commit perjury to win, but Fletcher discovers that he cannot even ask a question if he knows the answer will be a lie; during the case he even objects to himself when he tries to lie to get the desired information. Meanwhile, Audrey is planning to move to Boston with her new boyfriend Jerry (Cary Elwes), and decides that Max is going with them so that she can protect him from getting hurt by Fletcher.
Fletcher tries desperately to delay the case, even beating himself up, but he cannot conceal that he is able to continue, so the judge (Jason Bernard) insists that he does. Finally he realizes that his client had lied about her age and therefore had signed her prenuptial agreement while a minor, rendering it invalid. This allows him to win his case truthfully, but the repercussions become a catalyst to his understanding of what he himself is about to lose. Samantha who only cared about her ex-husband’s money, takes custody of her children purely so her ex-husband would be forced to continue paying her for child care and literally pulls the children out of the arms of their responsible and caring father. Fletcher then has a crisis of conscience and shouts at the judge to reverse the decision, and is taken to jail for contempt of court. Audrey refuses to pay his bail, which is eventually paid by his secretary Greta (Anne Haney), who forgives him for his earlier rude truth-tellings after hearing he “went all noble” in front of their firm’s senior partner.
Now recognizing his son Max as his highest priority, Fletcher struggles to keep him. He hurries to the airport, but Audrey and Max’s plane has already left the terminal. Desperate, he hijacks a mobile stairway and pursues the plane onto the runway. The plane finally stops, but Fletcher is injured. On his way to the hospital, he vows to his son to spend more time with him and never hurt him again. Even though the 24 hours of truth are up, Max knows he means it, and Audrey decides not to move to Boston with Jerry after all.
One year later, Fletcher and Audrey are celebrating Max’s birthday. The lights go off when Max blows out his birthday candles. When they go back on, Fletcher and Audrey are kissing. Fletcher asks Max if he wished for his mom and his dad to get back together and Max replies “No, I wished for roller blades!” The family seemingly returns to normal as Fletcher chases Audrey and Max around the house with “the Claw”.
Comedians seem to have careers that ebb and flow. Look at Eddie Murphy…in the 80s, everyone wanted a piece of the guy, but the 90s slowed down for him, with the exception of a cople years where he was making family-friendly films, and then today he is a shadow of his former self, his best current work is behind the mic doing voice-work. Adam Sandler was hot in the 90s, but lately his films have been nothing more than a way for him to give his friends work. Jim Carrey’s career isn’t in that dire straits, but when you see his later films and compare them to his earlier stuff, such as Liar Liar, you have to wonder what happens to these comedians?
What is this about?
Lawyer Fletcher Reede’s (Jim Carrey) mendacious ways destroyed his marriage and alienated his son, Max (Justin Cooper). But when Max makes a birthday wish that magically comes true, Fletcher finds himself incapable of telling a lie for 24 hours. That’s great news for Max and his mom (Maura Tierney), but terrible timing for Fletcher, who’s due in court to try a major divorce case.
What did I like?
In Living Color. Like most of the world, I was first introduced to Jim Carrey when he was “the token white person” on In Living Color. He’s come a long way since those days, but this films shows that the same antics that made him so popular on that sketch comedy show translate just as well, if not better, on the big screen. Carrey is magical in his manic, comedic moments, and also shows he has the ability to tone it down and be serious when he needs to be for the more tender moments.
Love in the elevator. Krista Allen isn’t a household name, because she isn’t a big name actress, unless you are familiar with the Emmanuelle series of films. I haven’t seen any of then, but I have heard of them. Krista’s role as the girl in the elevator doesn’t have her doing much, but as a random hot chick with massive frontal appendages, for lack of a better term, she fits the bill perfectly.
Jennifer Tilly. While I am on the subject of massive frontal appendages, I have to mention Jennifer Tilly, who has hers on full display for all of her screen time. I half expected them to pop out at any second. Those couple of points aside, I did enjoy Tilly’s portrayal as the bitchy wife who wants a divorce. Yes, it is a bit of a departure for her, at least from the roles I’ve seen her in, but she works it.
What didn’t I like?
Wish in one hand and spit in the other. A little kid makes a wish for 24 hours and it comes true. Is it me, or have we seen this formula before? I can’t place it, but I know that someone has used this before. Best I can come up with is Big, but that’s not right. In any case, the kid wishing for his dad to quit lying is all good, but the wishing thing didn’t work for me. I think some sort of voodoo magic would have worked better, but that’s just me.
New guy. Most of the time, when we see a divorced couple, they are down each other’s throats. Making matters worse, if there is a new significant other, they try to keep them separated. That doesn’t seem to be the case here. These are very civil individuals, which is fine, except for the fact that, with the exception of one or two shots that Carrey makes, it seems as if they are all in a relationship together. I would have liked for there to have been at least a little animosity there, just so I didn’t feel like going into some kind of diabetic shock from watching them.
Bosslady. Carrey’s boss is the typical cold-hearted bitch one would expect in this type of flick. She even jumps his bones (and keeps him from his son’s party). What is my issue with her? After that encounter, she sort of fades into the background, other than introducing her boss. They built her up as if she were going to be some sort of primary antagonist, but it never fully played out.
Liar Liar is one of Carrey’s best films, as were all of his mid 90s films. As I said before, he gets the opportunity to show his comedic and dramatic acting chops, as well as do the physical stuff that have made him known to billions. Throw in a terrific supporting case and a decent story and that makes this film a great film for the whole family to enjoy!
4 out of 5 stars