After a lawyer's 'wish' to speak the truth comes true the next 24 hours are full of surprises.
For anyone who saw Jim Carrey pretending to talk out of his arse during an Oscar presentation speech, there'd be reason enough to suppose that little has changed. And that after the inspired lunacy of his initial film hat-trick, this effort follows the downward curve of the latter trio - another one-man showcase of shouty over-acting and physical hurly-burly. But while claiming these ingredients do not play a major part would be less than truthful - this is, after all, a Jim Carrey movie - they're by no means the whole story.
In his reunion with Tom Shadyac, the director of his first and arguably funniest celluloid endeavour, Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, Carrey is Fletcher Reede, a slick, motormouth lawyer for whom prevarication is a profession, facts are a matter of interpretation, and cast-iron certainties are there to be melted down. Such an attitude has seen him propelled through the ranks to his current position beneath voracious and influential manager Amanda Donohoe.
But being no stranger to burning underwear also makes him an unreliable father to adoring son Max (Justin Cooper) and failure to show at Max's fifth birthday party - his aforementioned working status taking on a horizontal nature at the time - leads to a candle-puffing wish of dramatic consequence. For 24 hours, porkies are prohibited, and Fletcher's fluent fibbery is replaced by an entirely truth-telling tongue. And if blunt honesty is causing problems in his personal life, it's nothing compared to his suffering in the courtroom.
It's precisely this, in fact, which marks the film apart from recent Carrey fare. Shadyac's canny development of the script provides him with just a few performance arenas - the court obviously being most prominent - and only therein is the leash untethered. Organised in this way, Carrey's trademark facial gymnastics and latex-limbed commotion support the picture, rather than drown it, and allow breathing space for Tierney as Reede's ex-wife, and Jennifer Tilly as his gold-digging client. More laughs, less irritation, then, and although family scenes get sugary in places, it's more than worth a watch.
Make sure you hang on for the spice of the closing credit outtakes, which effectively rounds off a reliably entertaining slice of comic nonsense.