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R: ARCHIVE, S: REVIEWS, D: 03/20/1997,

Liar, Liar

ALT="[Jim Carrey]" align=right width=181 height=225 hspace=15 vspace=5> The Cable Guy was one of last year's best and most unfairly maligned comedies, and it has had the effect of skewing, perhaps forever, one of Hollywood's most promising comic talents. Still stung by his commercially blighted foray on the dark side in that film, Jim Carrey has opted for the insufferably light. His efforts to play nice in his new Liar, Liar are among the most offensive things he's done.

He's Fletcher Reede, a lawyer (or "liar" as his terminally cute son Max, played by Justin Cooper, ruefully calls him) whose career has taken off thanks to his indifference to honesty, justice, and his responsibilities as a father and ex-husband. When Fletcher misses his son's birthday yet again (he's seeking company advancement by shagging his boss, played by a Vampira-ish Amanda Donohoe), Max makes a wish that his dad won't tell a lie for 24 hours.

At first, it seems the truth will set Carrey free -- his sputtering, near-apoplectic throes are pretty amusing the first time around. But soon Liar deteriorates into smarmy, vaguely misogynistic moralism. Inept and cynical, the film rings true only in the outtakes shown during the closing credits, in which Carrey's aversion to this material looks as strong as his character's distaste for honesty. At the Cheri, the Fresh Pond, and the Circle and in the suburbs.

-- Peter Keough