When Jim Carrey Can't Lie!
I love comedies, and Liar, Liar is one of the most hilarious Jim Carrey movies I've ever seen! It's the sort of film where you'll just die laughing from start to finish. And for this brilliant piece, I must credit director Tom Shadyac and screenwriters Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur.
Carrey, to me, is the modern Jerry Lewis whose slapstick humor I enjoy rewatching. In this movie, he says lines and performs stunts that are so Lewis’ style that they keep me highly entertained.
I admire the comedian for such comic prowess. I know for a fact that it’s more difficult for an actor to play a funny role than a dramatic role, since it takes great effort to amuse an audience. (Failing to do so only means that the comedy had flopped!)
On the story
Carrey plays a successful lawyer, Fletcher Reede, whose constant lying ironically makes him one of California's best defense lawyers. But he comically goes berserk when his young son, Max (played by Justin Cooper), makes a heartfelt birthday wish that for one day - his dad wouldn't lie!
At the start of the film is a classroom scene where the teacher asks her young students to share something about their parents’ profession. When his turn comes, Max innocently says, “My dad? He's... a liar.” The teacher is horrified until the boy explains that his dad “wears a suit and goes to court and talks to the judge”.
Liar, Liar is packed with delightfully laughable scenes where Fletcher's truth-telling leads him to a series of embarrassing events. One of my favorites is the board meeting scene where Fletcher roasts everyone and even calls the firm's senior partner, Mr. Allen (played by Mitchell Ryan), “a belligerent old fart, a worthless steaming pile of cow dung”.
Simmons is old! He should've been out of the game years ago but he can't stay home because he hates his wife!... And you, Tom, you're the biggest brownnose I've ever seen! You've got your head so far up Mr. Allen's ass, I can't tell where you end and he begins!...You have bad breath caused by gingivitis... Your hairpiece looks like something that was killed crossing the highway. I don't know whether to comb it or scrape it off with a shovel and bury it alive.— Fletcher Reede at the board meeting
Hilarious board meeting scene
Then, there's that pen scene where he struggles to convince himself that the blue pen he is holding is color “ruh-ruh-ruh-ruh-reeeeeeeeeeehhh..” (he just can't say "red"!)
"It's blue. It's blue! The god damn pen is blue!"
Still another scene that tickles me is the courtroom hearing where, after proving the minor age of his client, Samantha Cole (played by Jennifer Tilly), Fletcher openly declares, “And the truth shall set you free!”
"And the truth shall set you free!"
About the other characters
Liar, Liar is not simply a comedy, but a heartwarming film that brings out the best in family life and human relationships.
If there's one character in the movie I like, it's Fletcher's old secretary, Greta (played by Anne Haney) who, after leaving her boss for unintentionally telling her some truths, bails him out after he is momentarily jailed for contempt of court. Having been a secretary with a kind male boss, I like how this old lady attends to Fletcher’s needs, even buying the birthday gift for Max.
I must say I am hurt by the scene where Samantha Cole – despite winning her case - pulls her kids away from their father. I find this so nasty of her – and I can’t help detesting her. It’s bad enough that she cheated on her husband.
As for Audrey (played by Maura Tierney), Fletcher’s estranged wife, I commend her for being extremely patient of her ex-husband’s shortcomings, which not too many women can do these days.
As in most comedies, the movie has a happy ending where Fletcher and Audrey literally kiss and make up on Max's succeeding birthday. It ends more amusingly with Fletcher doing his trademark hand "claw" and affectionately chasing Audrey and Max with it.
Like the other popular Carrey comedies such as Bruce Almighty, The Truman Show and Mr. Popper's Penguins, Liar, Liar is one movie that's worth rewatching with family and friends.