DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Tom Shadyac
Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Cary Elwes, Swoosie Kurtz, Jennifer Tilly
Writing Credits:
Paul Guay, Stephen Mazur

A fast track lawyer can't lie for 24 hours due to his son's birthday wish after the lawyer turns his son down for the last time

Box Office:
$245 Million.
Opening Weekend
$31,423,025 on 2,845 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $9.98
Release Date: 7/9/2013

• Audio Commentary with Director Tom Shadyac
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scene
• “Building the Comedy Chasm” Featurette
• Trailer


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Liar Liar [Blu-Ray] (1997)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 21, 2016)

Although Jim Carrey wasn’t desperate for a hit in the spring of 1997, he sure could have used one to regain his prior box office preeminence. After he had his first hit with 1994’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Carrey experienced a terrific run of success, as each of his subsequent flicks made buckets of money.

Ace took in $72 million – very solid for a cheap movie - while each of his next four releases - 1994’s The Mask, Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls - grossed more than $100 million.

And then there was 1996’s The Cable Guy. This flick showcased a darker side of Carrey, and although its $60 million gross wasn’t horrible, it came as a severe disappointment after the prior movies, especially since Carrey took home an extremely high salary for the picture. The Carrey mystique seemed to have been ruptured, and all eyes were on his next release, 1997’s Liar Liar, to see if he could regain his audience.

The answer was “yes”, and in a big way. With a take of $181 million, Liar Liar went on to become the fourth biggest-grossing film of 1997. That may not sound that great, but when one considers the three flicks above it - Titanic, Men In Black and The Lost World - it becomes more clear how well it really did.

In Liar Liar, Carrey plays Fletcher Reede, an unscrupulous attorney with a truth problem. He’s a chronic liar who can’t keep promises.

This resulted in the collapse of his marriage to ex-wife Audrey (Maura Tierney) and it strains his relationship with son Max (Justin Cooper); the boy clearly adores his Dad, but Fletcher’s many broken commitments startto wear on the kid’s patience and self-esteem.

When Fletcher fails to make it to Max’s fifth birthday party, the glum youngster makes a special wish as he blows out the candles on his cake: he hopes that his Dad won’t be able to lie. Immediately, this dream takes effect, as Fletcher discovers with catastrophic results. The remainder of the film follows Fletcher as he copes with his inability to be anything other than honest, and he inevitably learns many lessons about himself and the poor way in which he’s led his life.

During this disc’s supplements, we never hear if the producers considered anyone other than Carrey for the part of Fletcher. I never get the impression they created the film specifically for Carrey, but it seems to be unimaginable with anyone else in the lead. To say that Carrey was perfect for the part would be an understatement. No, he doesn’t provide the world’s most realistic acting, but let’s not forget that this story is a fantasy; a great deal of comedic license can be permitted.

One can argue the merits of Carrey’s dramatic performances in movies like Truman Show or Man On the Moon, but I feel that Liar Liar offers his best work. While he shows similar comic shenanigans in other efforts, he provides more inventiveness here. As director Tom Shadyac noted in his audio commentary, much of the film depicted Fletcher’s agonized responses to his truthfulness. This joke should have gotten old within 15 minutes of the first instance, but amazingly, Carrey keeps it fresh and amusing from start to finish.

For many years, I resisted the charms of Carrey, as his extremely over-the-top personality didn’t do much for me. The barriers started to drop with The Mask, but Liar Liar was the film that made me wholly accept his skills. I still can’t say that I’m a huge fan of his work, but I’m definitely fonder of him than I was a few years ago.

Without Carrey, I can’t imagine that Liar would have been anything other than a dud. The story itself seems inherently sappy, and even Carrey can’t quite pull off the sentimental scenes between father and son.

As Max, Cooper actually does a decent job; he seems more honest and less cloying than I expected. However, I must acknowledge a deep hatred of that giant bowl-headed haircut he displays; why do so many movie kids feature that ‘do? It exists almost nowhere else in nature!

Although she often plays straight-woman to Carrey, Tierney more than holds her own, and she nicely grounds the story. When allowed her own comic moments, she does quite well; check out the bits between her and boyfriend Jerry (Carey Elwes) toward the end of the film. One question, though: is it just me, or are Tierney and Jennifer Aniston actually the same person?

Director Tom Shadyac is a man of questionable comedic judgment, as he often seems to prefer lowest-common-denominator material. He has a spotty track record; 1994’s Ace Ventura worked just because of Carrey, and 1996’s Nutty Professor also benefited greatly from the presence of Eddie Murphy.

Conversely, with Robin Williams in his smarmy, self-righteous mode, Patch Adams collapsed to the level of abysmal treacle. I get the feeling that Shadyac basically lets his stars do their thing and doesn’t interfere a tremendous amount, which is why these different films have all varied so greatly based on their leads. In any case, this style works well for Liar Liar, as its star’s unbridled insanity carries the day.

I’ve seen Liar Liar five or six times over the years, and it still makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it. Frankly, that’s not an easy thing to do; I’m rather picky about my comedy, and even when I like a project, I probably won’t actually chortle too much.

However, Jim Carrey nails his part so perfectly in this flick that I just can’t help myself. It’s hard to imagine many more inventive and creative performances, as Carrey single-handedly makes Liar Liar a fun and hilarious film.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Liar Liar appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The image was mostly positive, though unexceptional.

Sharpness generally seemed good, as most of the movie looked fairly crisp and well-defined. A few interiors seemed a little mushy, and edge haloes offered mild concerns; those elements were a huge distraction, but they created unnecessary distractions.

No issues with shimmering or jaggies occurred, and I didn’t sense any problematic use of digital noise reduction. Print flaws stayed minor. I noticed a few minor marks but nothing much.

Colors usually looked reasonably accurate and natural, as the movie featured a fairly realistic palette. Interiors again caused some concerns, as those shots appeared somewhat more flat and drab, but as a whole, I felt the hues were acceptably vivid and distinct.

Black levels seemed to be fairly deep, and shadow detail often looked appropriately clear and visible, though those interiors could seem mildly murky. Ultimately, Liar Liar provided a generally good image that remained less than stellar.

Similar sentiments existed for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. Throughout much of the film, we got a subdued soundfield. Much of the movie stuck mainly with general ambience, though some modest panning and localization occurred at times; for example, cars moved adequately from side to side. Surround usage seemed to be even more limited, as the music was reinforced in the rear, but little other activity occurred back there.

One major exception existed, and that segment was the only thing that kept the audio of Liar in “B-” territory. The movie’s climax took place at an airport and involved a jet. This part of the film became pretty active and involving, as the various elements occupied the spectrum. Without this section, the soundfield would have remained dishwater dull, but these few minutes of excitement helped redeem it.

Audio quality worked fine. Speech was a little edgy at times but the lines usually appeared pretty natural. On the other hand, effects sounded fairly clean and dynamic, especially during the airport shots, where I heard rich and vibrant elements.

Music also seemed to be robust and lively, as the score presented deep and bold pieces. Ultimately, Liar Liar offered a generally unexceptional soundtrack that contained some flaws but still had enough going for it to merit a “B-“.

How did the Blu-ray compare with the Collector’s Edition DVD? Audio seemed more natural and dynamic, while visuals appeared tighter and more accurate. Though the Blu-ray didn’t soar, it still worked better than the DVD.

The Blu-ray replicates most of the DVD’s extras, and we begin with a very solid audio commentary from director Tom Shadyac. He provides a wealth of interesting information during this running, screen-specific track. Despite my misgivings about some of his films, he offers an engaging and entertaining presence and makes this commentary a consistent treat.

Early in the track, Shadyac relates that he has tons of material he wants to discuss for each scene, and it quickly becomes clear that this wasn’t an idle boast. He tosses in scads of fun production anecdotes, most of which concern the film’s wild star.

Shadyac covers his impressions of working with Carrey and how he has to keep everything together in the face of the performer’s style. He also discusses his theories of comedy filmmaking and goes over a lot of other issues related to the field.

At times, Shadyac tends to go spout a lot of remarks about how wonderful everyone was. Normally I hate those aspects of commentaries; too many tracks turn into lovefests that lack any sense of realism. While Shadyac doesn’t mention any real problems on the set, I actually feel that his enthusiasm helps make these remarks seem genuine and not problematic.

Ultimately, Shadyac’s commentary seems fun and compelling; he includes a wealth of strong facts about the film, and I really enjoyed his discussion. By the way, you’ll definitely want to stay with the track through its conclusion; toward the end of the movie, we learn of an interesting cameo that I never would have seen otherwise.

Bridging the Comedy Chasm provides a short featurette about Liar Liar. For the most part, this 16-minute, eight-second program functions as a standard, semi-promotional puff piece. It combines the usual mix of film clips, shots from the set, and cast and crew interviews. For the latter, we here from director Shadyac, producer Brian Grazer, and actors Carrey, Maura Tierney, Justin Cooper and Jennifer Tilly.

For the most part, we mainly hear fluffy comments about how great everyone was, but Carrey’s presence makes the show worthwhile. He adds some funny shtick from the set, and his interview snippets also provide some witty material; his tongue-in-cheek discussion of the plot - in which he alludes to a slew of other then-recent films - gets a little old, but as a whole, his statements are still quite amusing. His antics on the set also seem entertaining, and all of these elements make “Chasm” an enjoyable program.

As a documentary, it doesn’t do its job, but as a piece of entertainment, it works well. Bits that should have made the cutting room floor: the cloying Carrey impression done by young Cooper.

The disc’s sole Deleted Scene is an interesting one, though it would have been unnecessary within the framework of the finished film. This three-minute, 52-second clip would have showcased Fletcher’s legal - and lying - skills early in the movie, and though it’s a fun piece, we quickly learn of his dishonest nature, so it wouldn’t have added anything to the finished product.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find one minute, 34 seconds of Outtakes. These are pretty standard “goofs and giggles” fare, but Carrey’s presence makes them more enjoyable than usual.

Liar Liar stands as easily the best film directed by Tom Shadyac, and it’s one of the more satisfying Jim Carrey comedies. Nowhere else does he showcase his talents to such terrific effect. The Blu-ray offers acceptable picture and audio along with a few interesting supplements. Nothing about this release stands out as exceptional, but the movie remains amusing.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main