Liar, Liar (12)

Directed by Tom Shadyak Starring Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tilly, Amanda Donahoe, Carey Elwes

One joke movie with Carrey as a smooth talking lawyer, who is the liar of the title. After letting down his young son by missing his birthday party, the boy makes a birthday wish that comes true. Namely, that his father is unable to lie for 24 hours. This is the cue for most of the comedy as Carrey pulls his usual array of wild faces and leaps around manically as always. As comedies go, your enjoyment of this one will largely depend on your attitude to Jim Carrey. I quite like him, so I found the film quite amusing for the most part. He is as close to a human cartoon as you can get, with his energy and wildness. This is very much his film. Most of the other characters are poorly developed stereotypes like Jennifer Tilly as Carrey's slut of a client, and poor Amanda Donahoe- a good actress who has an unerring ear for a terrible script/crappy part. She gets the office bitch role here. As if that wasn't enough suffering for UK fans, Carey Elwes has a terrible part as the drippiest boyfriend imaginable of Maura Tierney as Carrey's ex-wife. She is the only character who gets a bit of a chance to impress, and is attractive and sympathetic.
The mildly amusing stuff carries us along well enough, but the horribly sentimental ending is a common failing amongst Hollywood comedies. Carrey is a comedian rather than an actor, but even a great actor would be struggling here I think as the script loses it. The sight of Carrey jumping around shouting, 'I love my son', is cringeworthy. The idea of a sleazy lawyer like that being transformed into a good kind and loving father in one day is ridiculous.
The outtakes played over the end credits are almost the funniest thing in the film! Carrey's skills are like Robin Williams; best when allowed to run free. This film is amusing without being very funny, with a nasty weak and sentimental centre. Too many cheap gags, and a sloppy script. That it just about succeeds, is purely down to Jim Carrey's comedic talents. 6/10.

May 1997

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