Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 3/30/00
Edition - 1997 (1999) - Universal
review by Greg Suarez of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/B/B
Specs and Features
87 mins, PG-13, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced,
single-sided, dual-layered (no layer switch), Amaray keep case
packaging, commentary with director Tom Shadyac, behind-the-scenes
featurette Bridging the Comedy Chasm,
deleted scene, outtakes, photo gallery, production notes, cast and
filmmakers biographies, theatrical trailer, Universal web links,
film-themed menu screens with animation and sound, scene access (26
chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1) and French (DD 2.0),
"I wish, for just
one day, Dad couldn't tell a lie."
Like it or lump it, Jim Carrey is maturing as an actor. Liar
Liar marks Carrey's first foray into a role that requires
a bit more emotional involvement than his past projects. Sure, there
is enough face contorting, clumsiness, and general physical comedy
to appease Carrey's fans from the days of Ace
Ventura and In Living Color,
but this was the first time I ever watched Jim Carrey perform, and
say "Wow. Maybe this guy has some range." Interspersed
within the outrageous Carrey brand of physical humor are moments
where he successfully conveys true emotion and actual acting
abilities beyond falling down or pulling his lip over his head.
Fletcher Reede (Carrey) is a very successful lawyer who has built
his prosperity by stretching, bending, manipulating, and contorting
the truth to the benefit of his clients... and lies upon lies are
required to spring these seedy and undeserving people. The problem
is, Fletcher also lies to his ex-wife, Audrey (Maura Tierney) and
young son, Max (Justin Cooper). Max loves his dad very much, but
begins to realize how much his dad's lies are hurting him and his
mother. After Fletcher skips Max's fifth birthday party for a little
casual sex (and of course lying about why he is missing the party),
Max makes a wish before blowing out his birthday candles - a wish
that for 24 hours, his dad can't lie. His wish comes true, leaving
Fletcher unable to lie... in any way. If he tries, he inadvertently
blurts out the truth, or stammers and stutters nonsense in the place
of a falsehood. This sounds like a concept that would dry out in
about 10 minutes, but Carrey is able to keep the hook entertaining,
always varying the failed lie routine.
The plot thickens when Audrey threatens to take Max and move across
the country to be with her new boyfriend, Jerry (Cary Elwes).
Fletcher must learn that truth is always the best policy if he is to
save his relationship with his son.
I thoroughly enjoyed Jim Carrey in this film, and could not imagine
any other actor pulling this off as successfully. The best part is,
his humor is not limited to the physical side of comedy. Carrey
delivers some great dialog-based comedy with perfect timing and
delivery. Plus, the on-screen father-son relationship between Carrey
and Cooper is sweet and emotional. The climax sequence at Los
Angeles International Airport is a little overdone for my tastes,
and there is a bit more physical comedy than I normally care for,
but overall, Liar Liar is a
very well-spent 87 minutes.
This disc sports a wonderful 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture.
Colors are very natural, and images are detailed. There is not a
hint of distracting motion artifacts. The overall visual
presentation is smooth and film-like. The Dolby Digital 5.1
soundtrack does a good job for a mostly dialog-oriented soundtrack.
Voices are easily intelligible and the music fills the soundstage.
If this soundtrack has a fault, it's that it is a little narrow in
places. This is not a disc you'd use to show off your shiny new
Dolby Digital sound system, but it serves its purpose well for a
This is actually the third DVD version of Liar
Liar. Universal released two previous versions, both in a
1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio, with one disc having Dolby Digital
audio and the other DTS. These were standard releases, lacking the
supplemental features of this edition. I was happy to see Universal
finally release a widescreen version of this film (and anamorphic to
boot) with a nice amount of supplements.
The commentary track with director Tom Shadyac is informative, but
is mostly an exercise in worship of Jim Carrey. You kinda get the
idea that Shadyac really likes this gangly fellow. The director does
offer neat some tidbits. For example, "The Claw" is
something that Jim Carrey's father used to do with him when he was
young. And Jason Bernard (the actor who played Judge Stevens) passed
away on the last day of shooting. The single deleted scene included
on this disc is a 5-minute courtroom scene, intended to build the
character of Fletcher. The available outtakes are amusing, but not
as hilarious as the set included during the closing credits. The
behind-the-scenes featurette is worth a look as well.
Liar Liar is a darling movie,
that has a great mix of comedy and emotion. If you've passed on this
flick because of a dislike for Jim Carrey, you're doing yourself
quite a disservice. Liar Liar
marks Carrey's entrance into a wider acting range (he followed up
this movie with critically acclaimed performances in The
Truman Show and Man on the
Moon). This Universal DVD has a spectacular anamorphic
widescreen picture, a pleasing 5.1 soundtrack, and an entertaining
set of supplements. Honestly. Hey, would I lie to you?