Liar Liar

After breaking its back trying to persuade us it isn’t another Cable Guy, this Jim Carrey comedy settles on its central premise–a crass lawyer and neglectful father can’t tell a lie for 24 hours–and becomes pretty funny, except when it turns to goo. Carrey’s attempted self-immolation in a men’s room, which weirdly recalls certain Fred Astaire routines, may be a small classic. The irony is that audiences who despise Jerry Lewis and roar at Carrey probably don’t realize how close the two comics are; Tom Shadyac’s direction is closer to Lewis’s early films than his later and more personal work, but everything from the crazy grimaces to the sentimentality to the outtakes behind the final credits can be traced back to him. Written by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur; with Maura Tierney, Jennifer Tilly, Swoosie Kurtz, Amanda Donohoe, and Cary Elwes. Bricktown Square, Burnham Plaza, Ford City, Golf Mill, Hyde Park, Lincoln Village, Old Orchard, 600 N. Michigan, Webster Place. –Jonathan Rosenbaum

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): film still.