American Fable is ambitious, maybe too much so sometimes, but there's an intense pleasure in the boldness of the film's style.
I am gradually developing a suspicion, or perhaps it is a fear, that Jim Carrey is growing on me. Am I becoming a fan? In "Liar Liar'' he works tirelessly, inundating us with manic comic energy. Like the class clown who'll do anything for a laugh, Carrey at one point actually pounds himself with a toilet seat. And gets a laugh.
The movie is a high-energy comeback from 1996's dismal "The Cable Guy," which made the mistake of giving Carrey an unpleasant and obnoxious character to play. Here Carrey is likable and sympathetic, in a movie that will play for the whole family, entertaining each member on a different level (he's a master at combining slapstick for the kids with innuendo for the grownups).
Carrey plays a yuppie lawyer whose career is on the rise but whose wife (Maura Tierney) has divorced him and whose 5-year-old son (Justin Cooper) no longer believes a word he says. "My dad's a liar,'' the kid says in class. "You mean a *lawyer,*'' the teacher says. The kid shrugs: whatever. Carrey is so wrapped up in cases that he even misses the kid's birthday party. So the kid closes his eyes and blows out the candles on the cake and makes a wish: He hopes that for one day his dad won't tell a lie.
The wish comes true. It is, of course, impossible to be a lawyer (or any other form of adult) if you are not prepared to lie, and so the day goes badly. He's defending the respondent in a big-bucks divorce case; his client (Jennifer Tilly) is a buxom sex bomb who is charged with one count of adultery but insists, somewhat proudly, that the actual count is closer to seven. This is not the sort of information you want to give to an attorney who cannot lie.