Reviewed by: Ken James
“Liar, liar, pants on fire” is the childhood quip that comes to mind whenever this comedy, featuring physical comedian Jim Carrey, is mentioned. And, strange as it may be, “Liar, Liar” was, indeed, rather childlike. Carrey promises to deliver an abundance of laughs, but unfortunately, at the expense of sexual innendos. While “Liar, Liar” may have been a little cleaner and smarter than Carrey’s previous works, he fails to clean up his act to this reviewers satisfaction.
Fletcher Reede (Carrey) is a fast-talking attorney who has told so many daily lies that his judgment has been forever skewed. His professional career is promising, with a good chance at becoming the newest partner in the law firm. Fletcher is also the father of Max, a cute little guy who wants nothing more than for his father to tell the truth for once and actually follow through with his promises to spend time with him. Time and time again, however, Fletcher comes up with excuses to inadvertently avoid spending quality time with his son. Fletcher’s lying not only disappoints Max, but his ex-wife (Maura Tierney), too.
Known for his ability to “stretch the truth” to new levels, Fletcher is assigned to the case of a seven-time adulteress (Jennifer Tilly) whose multi-millionaire husband is seeking a divorce. Fletchers convinces this woman that SHE is, in fact, the one who has been forced to find affection in the arms of another man (or seven) because of the lack of attention paid by her workaholic husband. As the “victim”, Carey convinces her that she is entitled to half of his estate.
While preparing for the case, and jumping into a sexual escapade with his domineering woman boss along the way, Fletcher misses his sons' birthday party—one more broken promise to add to the never-ending list. The disappointed boy makes a wish before blowing out the birthday candles—a wish that his father would not be able to lie for a whole 24 hours. That one wish will change the course of his father’s life forever… It causes Fletcher not only to attempt to win a case based on truth, but to also win back his son’s trust and convince his ex-wife not to move away.
“Liar, Liar” has an overriding theme which teaches that parenting is more important than working, while also playing up the lifestyle that so many Americans have become involved in—constant “white” lying. While “Liar, Liar” is filled with laughs, don’t fall for the line that it is a “clean” movie. If you do, you’ll be calling someone else “liar, liar”… Numerous sexual situations and a dozen or so profanities litter this otherwise fun comedy.
Year of Release—1997