Liar Liar

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For other uses of "Liar Liar", see Liar Liar (disambiguation).
Liar Liar
Liar Liar poster.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Tom Shadyac
Produced by Brian Grazer
Written by Paul Guay
Stephen Mazur
Starring Jim Carrey
Maura Tierney
Jennifer Tilly
Swoosie Kurtz
Amanda Donohoe
Jason Bernard
Mitchell Ryan
Anne Haney
Justin Cooper
Cary Elwes
Music by John Debney
Cinematography Russell Boyd
Edited by Don Zimmerman
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Pixar Animation Studios
Release dates
March 21, 1997 (1997-03-21)
Running time
86 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million
Box office $302,710,615[1]

Liar Liar is a 1997 American comedy film written by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur, directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey who was nominated for a Golden Globe Award (1997) for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical.

The film is the second of three collaborations between Carrey and Shadyac, the first being Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and the third being Bruce Almighty. It is also the second of three collaborations between Guay and Mazur, the others being The Little Rascals and Heartbreakers. It has been unofficially remade in Bollywood as Kyo Kii... Main Jhuth Nahin Bolta.


In Los Angeles, career-focused lawyer Fletcher Reede (Carrey) loves his son Max, but his inability to keep his promises and compulsively lying in lieu of his career often causes problems between them and with his ex-wife Audrey, who has become involved with another man named Jerry. An impressive defense attorney, Fletcher is not shy about exaggerating the stories of his clients, and his current client, the self-centered, money-grabbing Samantha Cole, has garnered the attention of Mr. Allen, a partner at the law firm in which Fletcher works. Should Fletcher win this case, it would bring his firm a fortune plus be an enormous boost to his career. With the pressure being put on him, Fletcher lies to Max about missing his birthday due to work, when he is actually sleeping with another attorney, Miranda, in order to get a promotion. Dejected, Max makes a birthday wish that for one day his father cannot tell a lie. The wish immediately comes true, and Fletcher is put in an awkward circumstance of telling Miranda he's "had better" after they've had sex.

The following day, Fletcher immediately determines that he is unable to lie or to withhold a true answer, often uncontrollably blurting out painful, offensive and often outrageous truths that set him on the outs with most of his coworkers and his car ending up in an impound for several parking violations. This comes to a head when he realizes that he is unable to even ask questions when he knows the answer will be a lie, which is inconvenient as Samantha and her alleged affair partner Kenneth Faulk are willing to commit perjury to win the high profile case and he cannot ask him the questions they have been given answers for. Realizing that Max had wished for this to happen, Fletcher tries to convince him that adults need to lie, but cannot answer why he should continue to lie to his son. Fletcher's erratic behavior in court leads to several questions of his sanity as he objects to himself and badgers and provokes his witnesses into truthfully admitting they had an affair against Samantha and her husband's prenuptual agreement. Fletcher loses his loyal assistant Greta after admitting he'd lied about the "expensive" gifts he gave her, and miserly reasons for denying her pay raises and Audrey tells him that she is moving with Max to Boston with Jerry to prevent anymore heartbreaks from Fletcher's broken promises.

Finding a technicality that Samantha was underage when she signed the prenup renders it void and she is entitled to half of Mr. Cole's estate; but when she decides to contest custody of their children who Mr. Cole dearly loves just because she wants more money from the child support payments, Fletcher has a stroke of conscience after seeing Mrs. Cole cruelly pull the children out of their father's arm, and shriek her demands for more money. Fletcher begs the judge to reconsider the verdict, and has himself arrested for contempt of court in his outcry. Greta returns and frees Fletcher from jail, who realizes that telling the truth has made him a better man and he rushes to the airport to stop Audrey and Max from leaving forever. He misses their flight, but steals a motorized staircase to stop the flight, he succeeds by causing a crash with the stairs and resulting in the breaking of both of his legs. After coming to, he admits to Max how much he cares about him and how sorry he was for breaking his promises, despite no longer under the wish's influence, Fletcher means what he says and that Max is his priority and Max convinces Audrey to stay in Los Angeles.

One year later, Fletcher is healed and is running his own law firm with Greta as his continued assistant. Max makes a wish with his birthday cake and the lights come on to reveal Fletcher and Audrey kissing, but explains he wished for rollerblades and not for them to get back together, meaning Audrey legitimately wants to reconcile. Fletcher clutches his hands into "The Claw" -a game he likes to play with Max by chasing him- and chases him and Audrey around the house with it.


Liar Liar was the motion picture debut of teen actress Sara Paxton, who played one of Max's classmates and his birthday party attendant. It was also the last film to star Jason Bernard, who died shortly after principal filming was completed. The film was dedicated in his memory.[2]


Critical response[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 81% of 53 sampled critics gave the film positive reviews and that it got a rating average of 6.9 out of 10.[3]

Critic Roger Ebert stated, "I am gradually developing a suspicion, or perhaps it is a fear, that Jim Carrey is growing on me", as he had given bad reviews for his previous films Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.[4]

American Film Institute recognition:

Box office[edit]

The film is the second of three Carrey/Shadyac collaborations, all of which did extremely well at the box office: the opening weekend made $31,423,025 in 2,845 theaters. In North America, the film made $181,410,615, and at the box office in other territories it made $121,300,000 for a total of $302,710,615.[1]

Plot similarities[edit]

The plot of the film bears a striking resemblance to an episode of the Twilight Zone, Season 2, Episode 14 "The Whole Truth", in which a used car salesman comes into ownership of a car that is haunted and forces him to tell the truth so long as he owns it. Parallels are even made in that the salesman's assistant asks for a raise, and he is compelled to come clean that there is no raise.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b c "Liar Liar (1997)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  2. ^ "Jason Bernard - Biography". IMDB. Retrieved January 5, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Liar Liar (1997)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  4. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 21, 1997). "Liar Liar review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  5. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
  6. ^ Hunter, Rob. "Exploring The Twilight Zone #50: The Whole Truth". Film School Rejects. 
  7. ^ “The Whole Truth” (season 2, episode 14; originally aired 1/20/1961)

External links[edit]