February 1, 1998

Liar Liar (1997)
Universal Home Video

97 mins. · PG-13
Pan&Scan

Format
DVD

Audio
E
French
Spanish

Subtitles
English, Spanish

Extras
Theatrical Trailer, Production Notes

Starring
Jim Carrey, Maura Tierney, Justin Cooper

Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(1997)

Since his stellar performance in "The Mask", Canadian comedian Jim Carrey established himself in the Hollywood ranks as one of Hollywood’s best comics. His recent Golden Globe Award for his performance in "Liar Liar" convincingly adds to this perception and frankly, I cannot think of any other comedian these days who is capable of carrying movies by his performance and presence alone, let away turn each one of them into fabulous blockbusters.

Fletcher Reede (Jim Carrey) is a wealthy and successful attorney with only the wealthiest of clients, but unfortunately, he is somewhat too busy working on his career. While this has already cost him his marriage, Fletcher is now about to also destroy his son’s faith in him. His son Max (Justin Cooper) is living with his Mom Audrey (Maura Tierney). Though Fletcher is a loving father every time he comes to visit the boy, as a by-product of his profession, Fletcher is quick and exceedingly talented in twisting words into void metaphors, or as ordinary people would say, he simply lies a little too often. His job has turned him into a ruthless tool of our society and, without actually realizing it, Fletcher would put out any lie just to make his case.

As a result, over time his son has lost every ounce of trust and respect for his overly ambitious father, who breaks more promises than the day has minutes. When it is time for him to make his birthday wish, Max has only one wish in the world - that his father couldn’t lie for a day! His wish is granted - suddenly, Fletcher discovers that he cannot tell even a simple lie. While at first being somewhat amused by his new-found honesty, he soon starts to panic, when he finds out that he cannot tell the slightest hint of a lie and, indeed, cannot even suggest one any more. When his career begins to go downhill through his sincerity, all of a sudden he remembers the real value of honesty and righteousness.

Jim’s acting talent adds hugely to the portrayal of this character. He manages to make this habitual liar a still-likable character, while his rubber face mimicry and fast-paced tongue get the idea of a totally flabbergasted, tormented lawyer across perfectly convincingly. It is once again outrageous fun to watch Carrey, especially when he is forced to tell truths every inch of the way and can no longer rely on his polite "schmoozing" abilities to get him around. His many inventive attempts to trick fate to allow him to lie again are wickedly funny and easily catapult "Liar Liar" in the ranks of one of my Jim Carrey favorites.

"Liar Liar" comes as a single layer DVD that holds the open matte version only. The transfer is crisp, beautifully rich, and saturated without the slightest of noise or pixelation. The image is razor-sharp, with plenty of detail that looks absolutely natural in any of the movie’s environments.

Since the theatrical release had the movie presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio it is not all that bad that "Liar Liar" found its way onto this disc in an open matte version only. The image is still tight enough, not to reveal too much unwanted information in the outer areas. I feel comfortable with it, even more so as "Liar Liar" is a family oriented movie where widescreen aspect ratios are not necessarily welcome. Since the movie is not exactly driven by its engulfing photography, Universal’s decision to release a fullscreen version of this movie is absolutely understandable. It would have been nice however, to have both, the widescreen and a pan&scan version on one and the same disc.

"Liar Liar" has a good music score by John Debny. It is unobtrusive and perfectly suits the purpose to underscore and capture the film’s images and moods. Like the movie itself, it is an upbeat, sometimes comical, piece of music that has been transferred to disc in a rich Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The movie’s dialog is fully dubbed in English, French and Spanish and has selectable English and Spanish subtitles. The disc also contains the movie’s trailer, production notes, and cast and crew bios. "Liar Liar" is a hugely entertaining, fast-paced family comedy that is mostly carried by Jim Carrey’s soaring performance. His trademark rubber face comes to full use once again in this

Universal release, and it will surely crack you up. It is amazing to see Carrey’s ability to display a wide range of characters, while always staying true to essentially the same successful formula: his unique body language and quick tongue.

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