troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Headscratchers: Liar Liar
  • This might be as simple as "He didn't think of it," but after Fletcher feigns being assaulted in the bathroom to force the case into recess, Judge Stevens asks him if he can continue. Couldn't Fletcher have just pretended to pass out from the beating he took, which would probably be enough of an implication that he can't continue (without him actually having to say "I can't continue," which he can't)? The wish is that he can't tell a lie.
    • Earlier, he couldn't even shake his head no if it was dishonest. Faking a fainting spell would have been out of the question. He could have easily said "yes, but I would really rather not," but that would have been less funny in the long run.
  • After Max "un-wished" the wish, Fletcher decided he needed to test it to see if it worked. Why didn't he just tell Max to ask him a series of questions like he had a few minutes prior (about wrestling, sitting close to the TV, and getting your face stuck when making funny faces)? Instead, he goes up to a random woman and gets a slap across the face. Seems like he didn't think that one through, but he's a smart guy. It makes sense to expect better from someone who was intelligent enough to still win the Cole case despite being unable to lie. Yes, yes, what he actually did was funnier, but we're thinking within the universe of the movie, not the movie AS a movie.
    • Because he probably doesn't want to lie to his son and then celebrate about it.
  • Why couldn't Fletcher tell the chick on the elevator with the sweet tits, "Well, you're a beautiful young lady and you seem to very friendly" when she said everyone in the building has been nice to her? Instead, he says quite possibly the worst thing he could have said ("That's because you have big jugs... I mean, your boobs are huge! I mean... I wanna squeeze em!") Saying that she's attractive in a more refined, less crude fashion would not have been a lie.
    • Because that's not what he was thinking. He was thinking that everyone was being nice to her because she has big breasts. It's a truth curse, and he considered that the truth.
    • But the wish is that he can't lie, not that he has to say exactly what's on his mind to a self-destructive degree... right?
      • I'm guessing that yes, in fact he does have to blurt out whatever he's thinking, without being able to stop and frame it more tactfully. A lot of Truth Curses seem to have that caveat.
    • It's whatever he says is the truth—he probably meant to say something more tactful, but what he was thinking was the truth was that she has large breasts. Whatever he has to say on any subject has to be the truth—and Fletcher just can't keep his mouth shut.
      • A lot of this might be chalked up to one thing: Fletcher is a jerk. Throughout the story, he comes off a crude, disrespectful, and generally an asshole. It was probably his brain's attempts at Brutal Honesty: a few people might help a pretty girl, but every man in the room will drop what he's doing to help a pretty girl with a big rack.
    • Part of the truth wish seems to be blocking out lies of omission.
  • So, I probably forgot some bits, so please bear with me. Max's wish for his father only to tell the truth is pretty wide, and I couldn't help but wonder a few implications... for example, is Jim Carrey's character forced to tell the truth in a matter in which he doesn't know the answer? What about matters of opinion, is there a "true" opinion he's forced to state? I'm really more asking this because I'm not sure if it was addressed anywhere in the movie...
    • Well, the wish was that he tell the truth; it didn't give him psychic powers. If he didn't know the true answer to something, he couldn't give it, obviously. As for matters of opinion, the movie doesn't directly address it; presumably they'd either be exempt, because they fall outside the 'true/false' dichotomy, or he'd be forced to say whatever he thought was true.

      That said, there are some truths he said that could be construed as opinion; his impromptu roast of his superiors, and telling the woman in the elevator that people are only helping her because of her gazongas, for instance.
    • IIRC, she didn't even ask him a question. She just made a statement. Since she didn't ask a question, he was under no obligation to acknowledge her statement. So why didn't he just keep his trap shut?
      • Regardless of whether a question is asked, everything he says still has to be the truth. Since he didn't even know about the wish at the time, he was merely trying to have a normal chit-chat conversation. What he probably meant to say was something like "Yeah, all the people here are great," which to him would be a lie since he almost certainly doesn't think they're all that great, therefore it got replaced with the truth. And of course when he tried repeatedly to lie to cover up what he blurted out, he just ended up making the situation worse.
      • If you mean his boss, she did ask him a question. "Well, what do you think of him?" She seemed to add that precisely because she knew he had to tell the truth when answering a direct question.
      • The way I've always seen it is that telling the truth would include his personal opinions because they're his and his only and he can't speak for others.
    • On the opinion question, most likely if he's asked for it, he has to give his honest opinion; like when the one secretary asks about her outfit, and he goes, "Whatever takes the focus off your face!" Her looks aren't an objective truth; certainly, she at least thinks she looks good; so he's giving his most honest opinion rather than lying to placate her.
    • It's not that he's forbidden to speak an untruth, it's that he's forbidden to say anything dishonest. He can say anything he wants so long as he honestly believes it.
      • Evidenced by his comment to the Judge about "holding it" causing cancer and impotence. It's prefaced with "I've heard...".
      • Or, if asked about something he hasnīt heard about or has no idea about, he would still answer the truth: I donīt know.
      • Not necessarily, prefacing his comment with "I've heard" just indicates that he's heard it, not that he necessarily beleives it to be true. This would imply that he can indirectly lie by saying that he has heard an untrue statement, for example answering a question by saying 'I heard that blue is red' even when he knows it's not. He's not lying because he may well have heard someone saying that blue is red but at the same time the statement is false as blue is not red.
      • Except he knows that blue is not red. He doesn't know if holding your pee for too long can damage your prostate. However, he has heard that it can do that, which is why the curse allows him to say "I've heard blahblahblah". He's heard it and doesn't have any reason to believe it's untrue, therefore it's not dishonest to say that he's heard this. See also other lines such as "I can't ask a question if I know the answer is a lie" and "I can't do anything dishonest until 8:15 tonight". He's not required to speak only the objective truth, he's simply forbidden to say or do anything dishonest for the duration of the curse.
      • Yeah, the simplest answer is that he has to tell the truth as he knows it. If he's asked about something he doesn't know, then the truthful answer is "I don't know", along with however much rambling elaboration he wants to get into. If he's asked for his opinion, then he has to say his real opinion ("that's just something we tell ugly people to make them feel better!").
      • And as for the woman in the elevator, this troper always interpreted it as Reed opening his mouth to say something flattering and flirtacious but, to his horror, having the curse force him to say what he was really thinking about: primarily, her mammary glands and how, of course no one would be rude to her. Note that this isn't because someone actually wouldn't be rude to her but only because Fletcher himself couldn't imagine it because he could never bring himself to be anything but flattering and flirtacious with an attractive woman.
  • When Carrey's character has to answer his secretaries questions which he doesn't what to, why doesn't he just not answer at all, it was only for him to tell the truth, not answer every question he is asked.
    • You answered your own question. The wish was for him "to tell the truth." I.e., if he knows a truth, he has to tell it.
      • No. The exact wording of the wish is "I wish that for only one day, Dad couldn't tell a lie" (emphasis mine). This is something the movie forgets as well (though maybe for the Rule of Funny): not answering is not telling a lie.
    • One word (or at least I'm going to type it without spaces) Rule of Funny
    • Because not answering would have the same effect as answering. The secretary would have very easily concluded that he wasn't answering because he knew she wouldn't like the answer.
    • But then why didn't he just answer with a simple "I don't like it."?
    • I believe he is forced to say whatever pops into his head at that moment so he can't word something to be technically true. You can see this when he clamps his hand over his mouth when he answers his own question of what's wrong with me, hurls a phone away after admitting he was sleeping with his boss when he culd have just said I was with my boss last night, and at one point wraps his head in his jacket and tries to nod and shake his head as an answer but screams the opposite of what he's indicating.
      • I think a lot of this can be chalked up to Fletcher not understanding exactly what's happening to him at first, and and later the stress of what's going on causes him to have outbursts, which of course have to be the truth.
    • Answer one: The wish didn't just cause him to not be able to lie, even if that's what Max said, but to force him to be constantly truthful, period, meaning that yes, he had to volunteer information. Answer two: Silence could be considered a lie of omission. Witness the elevator fart. No one asks him anything. No one says anything. But it's so ridiculously obvious that they're all wondering who it was and wanting to know that he absolutely has to turn back and say "It was meeeee!"

  • Ok, so the prenuptial agreement doesn't count because the wife was too young to get married when she married her husband, so then the wife doesn't lose out on her husband's money due to violating the agreement. But then, in that case wouldn't the whole marriage not count, if she was too young to get married, and she would therefore lose out on the money?
    • She was old enough to get married, but not old enough to sign a binding legal contract (the pre-nuptial agreement). The age when you can marry varies widely state-to-state and country-to-country, just like the age you can have sex, join the military, drink, sign documents, or vote. So the marriage was legal, but the pre-nuptial agreement was void.
    • But she said she changed her age so that she could get married. Why would she do that if it were legal?
      • Possibly just to make the contract appear legal. Alternatively, even if she was below the legal age to get married at the time, they're probably legally married by now.
      • Likewise, she might not have even realized that she could get married at her age, and just assumed that if she couldn't sign a contract, she also couldn't get married.
      • It still seems shady that the husband would be penalized for acting in good faith, not to mention rewarding the woman for falsifying records. Besides which, if she were married, and therefore emancipated from her parents, wouldn't she then be granted many of the legal rights granted to adults? Not necessarily the ability to buy alcohol ("I got married at 17! Give me a brewski!"), but signing contracts and entering into agreements on her own behalf?
      • I think you sign the pre-nuptial before the marriage.
      • If nothing else, with her being in her thirties, and them getting the pre-nuptial when she was 17, they are married by common law, if nothing else...
      • Actually the whole thing should have been thrown out. The judge and Mr. Cole's lawyer really dropped the ball on that one because, like Fletcher said, "a minor can't sign a legal binding document in the state of California", at least not without parental consent, but that also includes a marriage license. If she was a minor and got married but lied about her age, her marriage is void. As for "common-law" marriage, that is not recognized in the state of California anymore so it makes no sense that they let her walk away with that win. Now, if she was not a minor on the day of the wedding, things would be a little different but not by much. She would still be legally married to him but he could get the marriage annuled upon learning of her falsification of her age, and unlike divorce, this is retroactive in most cases so she should get nothing still. It makes no sense that community property laws would still apply when her marriage is technically nonexistent and she has proven to be unfaithful.
    • This whole thing bugged me. SHE lied about her age, SHE cheated, yet SHE gets the money??
      • Yes, she benefits from a legal technicality even though ethically and morally she was completely in the wrong. It's supposed to bug you. That's the point.
    • There seems to be a misapprehension about contracts with minors, which are voidABLE, not void. Accordingly, a minor who enters a putative contract must declare intention to avoid the contract. If the minor does not declare such intention within a reasonable period of time on reaching the age of emancipation (usually 18), the contract is considered RATIFIED and must be executed. Given that the woman was in her thirties, the prenup should have been presumed ratified unless California's abolition of the Common Law marriage also abolished ratification for marriages, in which case both the woman's marriage AND her prenup would be annulled. More fundamentally, though, properly applied legal principle would almost never award a fraudster a hefty payout on this sort of technicality. Amateur legal thrillers often reveal painful ignorance of the fact that Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence has over a thousand years of precedents behind it and is quite plastic.
      • Additionally, her husband states he had no idea she was underage, which means he could have had the marriage annulled on the grounds of fraud, which would leave her none of his wealth.

  • I always saw Fletcher and his ex-wife getting back together as incredibly tacked-on and undermining of the whole point of the movie being Fletcher's love for his SON. What is this, Hays code fallout?
    • Actually the point of the movie was more about Fletcher learning to be a better person (or at least less of a lying, scheming jerk). Part of that process is repairing his relationship with his son, but his relationship with his ex-wife was just as much in need of repairing.
    • At least it puts that a year in the future, making it a little more believable.
    • Plus, I think implications exist throughout the movie of lingering feelings between Fletcher and Audrey - her ambivalence to Jerry throughout the film, his jealousy of Jerry, etc. Their divorce seemed to be because he was a jerk who put his job first and was unfaithful to her, neither of which would be true of this Fletcher. Given the requisite time (and it took a whole year) I find this totally believable.

  • Fairly minor but as Fletcher is being dragged out of court to be held in comtempt he clearly yells. "I am Jose Canseco! I AM JOSE CANSECO!!!" While absolutely hilarious it would fall under the category of lying. I guess you could write it off as he didn't mean it as a lie, he was just refering to a game of catch he was going to play with Max...but it still bugs me.
    • Fletcher says lots of crazy, whacky things when he goes on one of his Truth rants. Remember when he goes off on that one guy the wife had been cheating on? "You dunked her donut! You gave her dog a Snausage! You stuffed her like a Thanksgiving turkey!" None of that was literally true (he didn't actually give her dog a Snausage), but he still said it because the metaphorical meaning was true.
      • Also, as you said, he was being dragged out at the time. We don't know what he might or might not have said after the door closed on him, so he could very well have yelled out something clarifying like "MY SON WANTS ME TO PRETEND TO BE JOSE CANSECOOOOOOO!!!" after the scene cut.

  • Max's fifth birthday is a HUGE to-do, with friends, a clown and music. His sixth birthday is... his two parents and a cake.
    • Well, when your birthday doesn't fall on a weekend, you tend to have a little birthday party with just your parents, and then the big bash comes the next Saturday.
    • Also, Fletcher's income likely took a big hit after he left his firm, and he may also have been in jail for a while at this point.
    • Could also simply be Max's preference; after finally having his two parents joining him for his birthday, maybe he just wanted it to be the three of them, esp. since he had the big birthday blowout the year before.

  • He DID lie once: When Fletcher's secretary was quitting, and he had just said he could have "gotten him ten", and she continues to pack up her stuff, Fletcher desperately cries out "I didn't understand the question!" There is no application of this statement that could have been true.
    • He was referring to the secretary's question ("Is that justice?" in relation to her friend being sued). She meant "is that justice for my friend?" He answered as if it was "is that justice for the burglar?" (after all, that's the type of client he'd be representing). Thus, misunderstanding.
      • Basically this. Fletcher is a stereotypical Ambulance Chaser lawyer, thus he views everything through that lens. He instinctively placed himself in the role of the burglar's attorney because those are the kinds of cases he specializes in (for instance, one of his repeat clients is a serial mugger who apparently likes to rob AT Ms). If he had thought about the question a little longer instead of snapping off a quick answer he would have realized the point Greta was trying to make and his answer might have been more thought-out.

  • My fan theory (to this lie and to the whole film actually): No magic spells, Fletcher was unconsciously unable to lie (with that one exception) due to his guilty conscience catching up with him. When his son told him about the wish, it just solidified the psychological effect, and gave him a point in time which his conscience could let him off. This adds a plausibility to the story that a magic spell would not allow for.
    • So you find it more "plausible" that Fletcher was struck with some sort of acute mental illness at exactly 8:15pm one night that made him psychologically incapable of lying, and then inexplicably cured of said mental illness at exactly 8:15pm the next night? Why the need for this overcomplicated explanation when "magic spell" is so much simpler?
      • Because magic is a fake made-up thing that isn't real, one assumes. Besides, the inability to lie vanishing at 8:15 the next day isn't the mental block being completely cured, it's just manifesting in a less inconvenient manner.
      • You know what else is a fake made-up thing that isn't real? This fictional mental illness you've imagined that somehow makes a person unable to lie for exactly 24 hours.
      • The impression I got from this theory (and this is not my theory) is that this mental block made him unable to lie indefinitely, and hearing that his son had wished for a 24-hour no-lies period just gave him a convenient "out", because Your Mind Makes It Real.
      • Seriously dude, Occam's Razor. "Magic spell" is a thousand times simpler than this mythical mental disorder that somehow makes Fletcher unable to lie for exactly 24 hours. I don't understand why you would favor such an overcomplicated and bizarre explanation when the premise established in the actual movie is so much simpler and requires far fewer mental gymnastics.
      • Not the original poster here, but it seems like the guy arguing is being purposefully obtuse just because he doesn't like the theory. You can not possibly deny that it is MORE LIKELY that someone's guilty conscience causes them to be subconsciously unable to lie than that MAGIC causes them to be unable to lie. That is absolutely unarguable. I don't believe this theory either (mainly because the movie never comes close to implying this is the case) but the reason I don't believe it isn't because I don't acknowledge it being way more plausible in real life.
      • Your mental illness theory doesn't work out since it implies he felt so bad about lying to his son that he gave himself a form of Tourette's built around his son's wish. All the exposition in the movie shows that he was a compulsive liar and hurt his family all the time. He wasn't able to change to save his marriage, and he doesn't even realize how much he's hurting his son. The only major change that would cause it is that his ex-wife and son are moving away, and he is in complete denial about that meaning as much to him as it does.
      • Alternative theory: In this universe a man can lose his ability to lie by being cursed, because that's the whole premise of the movie.
      • Indeed. OP, other arguers, I'd like to introduce you to this little concept called fiction...
      • I believe the proper answer to this comes from Roger Ebert's commentary about a different film which showed what is often cited as an Achievement In Ignorance in the form of walking on water. Fans have speculated about mundane explanations for it, like the character walking on a barely submerged pier or sandbar, and Ebert's take on this famously went as follows: "The movie presents us with an image, and while you may discuss the meaning of the image, it is not permitted to devise explanations for it. Since Ashby does not show a pier, there is no pier — a movie is exactly what it shows us, and nothing more." In the case of Liar Liar, the plot device is framed as magical, not mundane, and no mundane alternative is posited or implied. We are therefore obliged to treat it as such instead of trying to shoehorn a mundane explanation in.

  • Fletcher cannot ask a question if he knows the answer will be a lie. When he puts Samantha on the stand and questions her about her birth certificate, he had to have known she was going to lie when he asked her about the information, she'd falsified at least three things on the document. How could he ask the questions if he knew the answers would be lies?
    • Because his intent was to reveal the truth. When he was asking her the lies before, the intent was to deceive. At each of her answers about the form, he immediately shoots down her lies.
      • ^Exactly. People interpret the "rules" of this curse way too literally. The only thing the curse does is prevent Fletcher from doing anything dishonest. Also, he didn't know the answers to his questions about the birth certificate would be lies because they weren't part of the carefully rehearsed routine he originally planned out.
      • Also, the "weight" lie was because Fletcher didn't directly ask the question. He simply said "Weight, 105? Yeah, in your bra." It was the judge who officially asked her to state her weight.
    • Watch the scene carefully. She actually answers all his questions truthfully. He points to the marriage license and birth certificate and asks what they say. Then when she admits she lied to make herself older, he asks, "But why would any woman want to do that?" "I lied about my age so I could get married."

  • Isn't it odd that Audrey just happened to know the exact time Max blew out the candles? There's nothing showing why she would remember that he blew out the candles at exactly 8:15. And yet she tells Fletcher that Max made his birthday wish at that exact time.
    • Maybe she was checking the time every now and then, waiting for Fletcher to show up, and happened to do so shortly before Max went to the cake?
Lethal WeaponHeadscratchers/FilmLittle Miss Sunshine

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
26499
6