Tuesday, May 28, 2013
(March 1997, U.S.)
In a particular episode of I LOVE LUCY entitled "Lucy tells the Truth", Ricky bets Lucy that she can't go twenty-four hours without telling a fib. Problems begin when Lucy starts being brutally frank with everyone. In the hands of the great comedienne Lucille Ball, that prospect is outrageous on its own. In the hands of Jim Carrey under the direction of Tom Shadyac (they did ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE and BRUCE ALMIGHTY together, also), it's just downright insane and uncontrollable!
Carrey is Fletcher Reede, a Los Angeles career-focused lawyer and divorced father of a five year-old son. He loves his son dearly but has this rather terrible habit of repeatedly letting the boy down and then lying about the reasons. His compulsive lying has also built him a reputation as one of the best defense lawyers in the state of California as he's climbing the legal ladder at his firm. Ultimately, Fletcher misses his son's fifth birthday party because he's instead having wild sex with his boss Miranda (played by Amanda Donohoe) in order to try and better his career just a little more. Heartbroken (again), Max makes a birthday wish that his father would be unable to tell a lie for an entire day; a wish that immediately becomes true. And what better way to kick things off into potential disaster than when your boss and immediate sex partner asks, "How was it for you?" and you respond, "I've had better." Yikes!! Now unlike Lucy Ricardo, brutal and destructive honesty is not just a verbal act under Jim Carrey's talent, but also incredibly physical. Despite the fact that I'm more often turned on my funny dialogue rather than physical action, I simply loose it when Carrey acts like a complete imbecile on screen. Unlike ACE VENTURA, in which the character is constanstly and persistently looney like Daffy Duck, I find it more entertaining when Carry's character is a somewhat normal person who's caught up in extreme circumstances that cause him to alter his character in some uncontrollable fashion (as in this film and BRUCE ALMIGHTY). Much of the comedy is, admitedly, predictable, especially when you consider that Fletcher is a lawyer and there's nothing more potentially damaging to one's legal case than brutal, uncompromised honesty. In fact, while I was watching and enjoying the entire courtroom sequence of the film, I couldn't help but remember Steve Martin playing a lawyer in ALL OF ME (1984) and falling victim to circumstances in which he didn't have control of his body or his words. Not that someone like Jim Carrey doesn't have anything fresh to offer such a situation, I'm only saying that I've seen it before in another form. Cliche, of course, doesn't fail the story as Fletcher will ultimately learn through honesty and experience the value of his relationship with his beloved son and family.
Now, pay attention, people because I'm going to give you all a writing exercise. Be honest and think real hard and I'll just bet you can come up with at least one person in your life (past or present) whom you'd just love to be brutally and painfully honest with, particularly if it involved minimal-to-zero consequences (because let's face it - we all lie everyday of our lives about one thing or another!). Who is that person? How do you know them? What would you say if they were to ask the question, "What do you think of me?" How would such a scenario play out in your mind? What words would you use? Well, go ahead, my friends, write it down! Share it with me!
Because I'd never ask any of you to do something that I wouldn't be prepared to do myself, here's the person I had in mind. At my previous place of employment, an architectural firm on Long Island, there was a woman whom I shall call Debra (because that's her real name) who was, I guess if you want to be technical, the office manager. I don't exactly know what her true "managerial" skills were, but I do know this woman spent much of the day's working hours shooting the shit with everybody in the office and planning monthly birthday parties for the office employees. This was the kind of woman who wanted to be best friends with everybody and shared intimate details of her personal life with anyone who was willing to listen to her, whether it be the restrictions of her latest diet, her latest boyfriend breakup or an upcoming surgery. I realize that most people in the work force today consider this kind of personal trait an office asset. That's fine and dandy except for two reasons: the first is that Debra was so fucking busy sharing her life with everybody that she seemed incapable of doing any real work of value. The second is that Debra was stupid enough to get offended when I turned out to be the only one in the entire office who showed no interest in sharing my life with her. This was nothing personal against her. I simply don't share intimate details of my personal life with the people I work with...ever (if I were still single and looking to get laid by a beautiful woman in the office, then it might be a different story!). And so, as a result, she and I were not exactly on the best of terms. As far as I'm concerned, that's a matter between Debra and ther own self-esteem, something that never concerned me!
(let me take a breath for a moment!)
Okay, so now I've chosen my...well, I suppose VICTIM would be the appropriate word here. So imagine if Debra were to ask the question, "Eric, what do you think of me?" Here's what Eric would say if he could not tell a lie...
"Debra, I think you're a physically unattractive suck-up and kiss-ass whose obvious desperation for attention and acceptance serves no purpose whatsoever other than a pathetic attempt to hide the fact that you're completely incapable of doing any real work around here! Why the partners of this firm haven't fired your sorry ass by now is beyond my comprehension!"
And so, Debra, this post for LIAR LIAR is (not-so) affectionately dedicated to you...honestly!
Favorite line or dialogue:
Judge Stevens: :How are we this morning, Counselor?"
Dana: "Fine, thank you."
Judge Stevens: "And how about you, Mr. Reede?"
Fletcher Reede: "I'm a little upset about a bad sexual episode I had last night."
Judge Stevens: "Well, you're young. It'll happen more and more. In the meantime, what do you say we get down to business?"