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
James Newton Howard (Themes)
Cinematography Russell Boyd
Edited by Don Zimmerman
Distributed by Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Release dates
March 21, 1997 (1997-03-21)
Running time
86 minutes[1]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $45 million
Box office $302.7 million[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 (Cooper), but his inability to keep his promises and compulsive lying in lieu of his career often causes problems between them and with his former wife Audrey (Tierney), who has become involved with another man named Jerry. In court, Fletcher is willing to exaggerate the stories of his clients, and his current client, the self-centered, money-grabbing Samantha Cole (Tilly) has garnered the attention of Mr. Allen, a partner at the law firm in which Fletcher works. If Fletcher wins this case, it will bring his firm a fortune and boost his career. 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 accidentally tells Miranda he has "had better" after they have sex.

The following day, Fletcher immediately realizes that he is unable to do anything dishonest. He cannot lie, mislead, ask a question if he knows the answer is going to be a lie, or even deceive by withholding a true answer, often uncontrollably blurting out offensive and painful truths that anger his co-workers, and his car ends 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 give any type of answer at why he should continue to lie to his son. Fletcher also figures out that since Max wished for him to tell the truth for only one day, he tries to do what he can to delay Samantha's case since the magic wish will expire at 8:15 p.m., 24 hours after Max made the wish.

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 prenuptial agreement. Fletcher loses his loyal assistant Greta after admitting he had lied about the "expensive" gifts he gave her, and miserly reasons for denying her pay raises. Also, Audrey tells Fletcher that she is moving with Max to Boston with Jerry to prevent anymore heartbreaks from Fletcher's constant broken promises.

However, Fletcher finds a technicality that Samantha was underage when she signed the prenup prior to her marriage which renders it void and she is entitled to half of Mr. Cole's estate. But when Samantha decides to contest custody of their children who Mr. Cole dearly loves just because she wants more money from the child support payments, Fletcher regrets mentioning the technicality after seeing Mrs. Cole pull the children out of their father's arms, and shriek her demands for more money, Fletcher overhears this and tries to get the Judge to reverse the decision, but is arrested for talking back to the Judge and is thrown in jail.

Greta returns and bails Fletcher from jail, who forgives him and 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 waking up, he tells 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 instead of them reconciling. 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]

Liar Liar received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 81%, based on 54 reviews, with an average rating of 6.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Despite its thin plot, Liar Liar is elevated by Jim Carrey's exuberant brand of physical humor, and the result is a laugh riot that helped to broaden the comedian's appeal."[3] On Metacritic the film has a score of 68 out of 100, based on 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[4] In CinemaScore polls, audiences gave the film an "A-" grade from an A+ to F scale

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.[5]

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 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.[7][8]


  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 September 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Liar Liar reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved September 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ Ebert, Roger (March 21, 1997). "Liar Liar review". Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010. Retrieved August 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
  7. ^ Hunter, Rob. "Exploring The Twilight Zone #50: The Whole Truth". Film School Rejects. 
  8. ^ “The Whole Truth” (season 2, episode 14; originally aired 1/20/1961)

External links[edit]