An update of the 1977 comedy, Dick and Jane are living the good life. That is until Dick (Jim Carrey) loses his job shortly after getting a promotion that convinced his wife Jane (Téa Leoni) to quit her job. The money is gone, and the house ends up in foreclosure. Dick decides to turn to a hilarious life of crime to pay the bills with his lovely wife by his side. Then together they decide it's ... See full summary »
Fletcher Reede, a fast talking attorney, habitual liar, and divorced father is an incredibly successful lawyer who has built his career by lying. He has a habit of giving precedence to his job and always breaking promises to be with his favorite young son Max, but Fletcher lets Max down once too often, for missing his own son's birthday party. But until then at 8:15 Max has decided to make an honest man out of him as he wishes for one whole day his dad couldn't tell a lie. When the wish comes true all Fletcher can do is tell the truth and cannot tell one lie. Uh-oh for Fletcher! Written by
Anthony Pereyra <email@example.com>
The original screenplay by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur was rewritten from scratch by director Tom Shadyac and Mike Binder, with further rewrites being performed by Steve Oedekerk during filming. Though the basic concept of a man being unable to tell a lie for 24 hours and having to rebuild his relationship with his young son was retained from Guay and Mazur's draft, nearly everything else was scrapped. See more »
When Fletcher was lying on his sofa in his office, his tie was under his arm. A couple shots later, it was hanging across his chest. See more »
Max! It's 8:45, you made the wish at 8:15. I've been able to lie for the past half hour.
So you were - ?
No! It was the truth. I just wanted to be honest with you, Max. I always want to be honest with you.
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Jim Carrey puts so much energy and pure comedic brilliance into this movie that we hardly noticed how corny and hackneyed was the plot or how wearily didactic was the moral lesson for all fathers who neglect their children for the goddess of success. And really we didn't care. What we loved almost as much as Carrey's rubber mouth and oral blockage (like an overheated boiler fighting not to explode) was the premise: a lawyer that can't lie. Now there's an oxymoron! As Carrey tries to explain to his son Max, lawyers need to lie. Actually he says grownups need to lie, which is a truth that we really do not need to exam too closely here. To laugh at something deeply troubling in our nature is a way of dealing with it.
So the genius of this movie is first the talent of Jim Carrey, but second, for kids who come to the realization of adult mendacity for the first time, it is the discovery of comedy as a way to cope. Why do adults need to lie? is a question that a kid can never figure out, and then by the time he is an adult himself (or actually a teenager), he can no longer comprehend how important the question once was. Call it innocence lost, or the socialization process.
My favorite part of the movie is the courtroom scene with Jennifer Tilly dressed oh so sluttily and her adulterous beaux looking like a model for the cover of a romance novel and Carrey in tatters in his $900 suit. Second would be the bathroom scene in which Carrey tries to tear himself apart (and seems to almost succeed). His flapping mouth between the toilet seat and the bowl was inspired. Give some credit to director Tom Shadyac, who managed to steer the vehicle with Carrey at the controls, and to writers, Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur, who wrote some funny lines.
The great comedians totally let themselves go. They are totally on. They go to extremes and beyond. It's like transcending not just the ordinary, but even the imagined. See this obviously for Jim Carrey, one of the great comedic talents of our time, an original who would have delighted Charlie Chaplin with his extraordinary muggings, his blatant audacity and his suburb timing.
(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon!)
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