| Liar Liar (1997) |
Liar Liar is a 1997 movie with an interesting premise, that a lawyer who had build his entire career on telling lies finds himself suddenly cursed to tell nothing but the truth for an entire day. The comedy in this movie is a bit more oddball than I expected, but with Jim Carry as the lead I probably should have seen that coming. If you are a fan of his work you'll probably love this movie regardless of content, but for those of you who are not I'll try to provide a more in depth review.
The story begins by introducing the main character, Fletcher, along with his family and the business he works at. Fletcher is a lawyer and is very good at his career, but his constant broken promises and neglect of his family has resulted in his wife divorcing him and his son becoming distant from him. Dispite this the movie makes it clear that he loves both his wife and son very much. As the main plot is set into motion, however, Fletcher ends up taking on a major case that will surely see him promoted and misses his sons birthday to have sex with a colleage at work. His son, Max, is so disappointed to hear his father isn't going to make it that he wishes that just once, for an entire day, his father couldn't tell a lie.
This curse kicks in immediately with Fletcher getting kicked out the office he was having sex in due to an unintended insult made to his partner. As he begins the next day he slowly finds out to his horror that he cannot tell a lie or even keep from telling the truth when asked a question. Unfortunately, his big case is set for today and his wife is planning on leaving him after finally having enough of him lying to her and Max. The movie is mostly a straight comedy with Fletcher being humiliated constantly through his inability to be dishonest, but the movie does have some important dramatic moments in it as well.
After a full day in hell Fletcher finds himself stuck in court without any sort of defense for his client that isn't based upon a lie. Things keep going down hill for him from there and as he becomes more and more desperate to think of a way out of the situation. As luck would have it he accidently stumbles upon just the information he needs to win the case at the last second and save his job.
Normally, this would seem to be a good thing, but it is at this point Fletcher realizes just how badly he screwed up by winning the case and immediately regrets his actions. I won't spoil what happens, but the scene will probably come as a surprise to many viewers and probably upset at least a few parents. The movie doesn't dwell on it for long, but makes it clear that Flectcher's actions may have messed up the lives of more than a few people.
Fortunately, this single act helps Fletcher to come to terms with just how much of an asshole he has been over the course of the movie and inspires him to set things right with his family. As you'd expect for a comedy everything ends up working out in the end and Fletcher becomes a better father to his son. The only downside to the ending is that the movie never mentions the ultimate fate of Fletcher's client or her husband, though that may have been for the better.
After viewing this movie I have to admit I have quite a few mixed feelings. On one hand the movie portrays the main character as a loving (if somewhat flawed) father who loves his family and shows just how important a father figure is for young children. On the other hand the movie also takes glee in abusing many sexist slapstick antics involving Fletcher, such as a woman slaping him for making an offensive comment along with other such comedy standbys. Much of the movie focuses on Fletcher's abuse and humiliation, yet many points also show fair treatment towards men in general, especially fathers.
The movie surprisingly wasn't afraid to show what a total bitch a spiteful mother could be while portraying the father in a much more sympathic light. I can't give the movie full marks because of how much misandry some of the women get away with, but I must commend it for showing that being a woman doesn't automatically make a person a good parent and being a man doesn't automatically make a person a bad one. I didn't get as many laughs with this movie as I did with some other comedy movies, but you could do a lot worse the next time you decide to rent a movie.
Rating: PG-13 (Crude humor, sexual content, langauge)
Run Time: 86 minutes