Soon after Jim Carrey's darker turn in Ben Stiller's The Cable Guy, he partnered up again with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective director Tom Shadyac for Liar Liar, a much more family-friendly commercial hit about a lawyer cursed by his son to not lie for an entire day.
If The Cable Guy alienated audiences from Carrey, Liar Liar got them back. The film saw the comedian go back to his manic, rubber-faced roots and deliver an over-the-top, cartoon-esque performance. Re-watching it, Liar Liar walks a weird line as it looks and feels like a kids movie and yet boasts a lot of adult humour. After all, Fletcher Reed's (Carrey) entire case revolves around an affair, one which we actually hear going on in a recording at one point, and he himself is portrayed as something of a womaniser here and there. Yet the tone throughout is very easy-going, light-hearted and its hook is something right out of, say, Jumanji or a similar type kid-friendly outing. In fact, Liar Liar is sort of like an updated remake of All Of Me, a film which saw Steve Martin play a lawyer also cursed to act crazy around an uptight work setting. Liar Liar does have its sentimental moments but chances are you'll probably want to skip through those parts which don't seem particularly relevant in a film this outwardly goofy. Director Tom Shadyac tends to struggle with the soppier stuff (see Patch Adams) but excel at all-out chaos, which this movie delivers a great deal of.
Story-wise, this is pretty predictable and by-numbers but, let's be honest, the main reason to watch Liar Liar is to see Jim Carrey make faces and go generally ape-shit in every scene, something which he tends to do extremely well. Some classic moments include a scene in which Fletcher kicks his own ass in a public bathroom, one where he insults just about everybody in a boardroom meeting, many instances where he tries desperately to lie in court only for that to backfire horribly, a spirited fight with a pen Evil Dead II-style and an action-packed sequence in which he goes head-to-head with a plane in the film's over-the-top climax. Whether you care about the father/son relationship in this movie at all (you could be forgiven for hating it as young Justin Cooper is slightly grating) you should at least enjoy the many goofy antics presented here: most of the jokes work and Carrey clearly has the time of his life letting loose. The irritatingly corny score and tame subplot aside, Liar Liar is a lot of fun and the whole thing is perfect mindless entertainment for the whole family. Look out for Jennifer Tilly as Fletcher's rather indiscreet client and Cary Elwes in a smaller but significant role.
Overall, while not one for those allergic to Jim Carrey's cartoonish style, fans should have a ball. It won't make you any smarter but Liar Liar is a charmingly nuts and thoroughly entertaining courtroom comedy with Carrey at his best and wackiest.