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Volume 90, Issue 95
Tuesday, March 25, 1997
Carrey passes the lie detector test
©Gazette file photo
THAT'S RIGHT LITTLE GUY, IF YOU ACT REALLY STUPID, CRAZY AND UNREALISTIC, YOU TOO WILL MAKE $20 MILLION PER MOVIE. Jim Carrey and Justin Cooper have honest discussion in Liar Liar. The film re-unites Carrey with Ace Ventura director, Tom Shadyac.
Starring Jim Carrey and Jennifer Tilly
Directed by Tom Shadyac
At Galleria, 7:30 and 9:35 p.m.
People who have experienced Jim Carrey generally fall into one of three categories: You love him, you think Cable Guy is his best, or you can't stand his craziness and overacting. If you are of the latter, you had better pass on his latest crazy but heartfelt comedy, Liar Liar.
But for all the Jim Carrey fans out there I have very good news this film is hilarious. Director Tom Shadyac (Ace Ventura) evokes a formula that has worked in the past, giving Carrey the reigns and letting him move freely through a screenplay that is otherwise conventional and predictable.
We first encounter Fletcher Reede (Carrey) oiling the gears of his law career, while juggling his family life with a thick web of promises and deception. Fletcher's career is given a big boost by a lucrative court case in which he must defend the adulterous but succulent Jennifer Tilly (Bound).
While he works to cover up her scandalous acts he forgets about an engagement with his son. Fletcher promises to go to his son's birthday but decides to grease his career more by networking his boss. For the first time one of his oversights catches up to him and his son makes a fateful wish which prohibits Fletcher from lying for an entire day.
Fortunately for us, it happens to be at the height of his biggest case. Fletcher is henceforth thrown into the lion's den of his life without his greatest weapon deception.
As the curse/blessing takes hold, Fletcher's outspoken character explodes with comedy. Confrontations with hated fellow employees and courtroom scenes become obvious hotbeds of serious laughs and Carrey is free and fresh with his lines. Above all, the film does not resort to goofy antics for cheap laughs, though at one point Carrey does kick his own ass in the courtroom lavvy.
What gives this film depth is a good plot with a love story, which augments Carrey's standard slapstick humour. Carrey comes to realize he loves his son and that he is a bad father. But does he have enough time to stop his ex-wife and son from going to Boston with the other guy (a physical double but energetic foil to Fletcher played by the placidly perfect, Cary Elwes?) Does a bear piss in the woods? Does Hollywood leave loose ends?
It's all academic, the message is the key don't get caught in your own selfish pursuits to the point where you lose sight of those you love.
Carrey hit the big time with the self-written Ace Ventura but some say he has slumped since The Cable Guy. I agree. The Cable Guy has great characterization and a great message but its lack of success exposes one of the drawbacks of Carrey's success. He is expected to perform drop dead comedy at every expense and when he doesn't, he flops in the financial sense, which unfortunately is the only measuring stick in Hollywood. In Liar Liar, Carrey finally succeeds in fusing knockout stoner comedy with a solid plot. A good film and I ain't lying!
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Copyright © The Gazette 1997