<img src="http://dev.blogs.amctv.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/yes-liar-560.jpg" alt="" title="Now or Then – Yes Man or Liar Liar?” width=”560″/>
Now: Yes Man (2008)
Then: Liar Liar (1997)
In Yes Man, Jim Carrey plays Carl Allen, a no-fun loan officer who spends all his time saying no to things — until he attends an inspirational seminar and starts saying yes to everything. This lands him a hot new girlfriend, a promotion at work and dozens of new friends. Of course, things eventually spin out of control. In Liar Liar, Carrey plays Fletcher Reede, a slick, silver-tongued attorney who suddenly loses the ability to lie for 24 hours. And since he’s about to go to court to defend an obviously guilty (and very wealthy) client, this poses a bit of a problem. So which of these Jim Carrey movies should you be saying yes to?
Carrey Being Carrey
Yes Man: Finally returning to the no-holds-barred act that made him a star in the first place, Jim Carrey gets to be Jim Carrey again. His shtick reaches its apotheosis when Carl’s drunken antics (he can never say no to another drink) land him in a bar fight.
Liar Liar: Watching Jim Carrey as a super-lawyer stuck in a courtroom without the ability to lie might be the purest form of comedy imaginable. That is, until he takes a bathroom break and proceeds to “kick his own ass” so that he can feign an injury — probably the funniest scene of his entire career.
The Winner: Liar Liar.
The Moment When Everything Changes
Yes Man: This being a Jim Carrey movie, you’d think that Carl’s big transformation would come courtesy of the supernatural — think The Mask, Bruce Almighty or, well, Liar Liar. But it’s actually thanks to the thunderous charisma of self-help guru Terrence Bundley (Terrence Stamp, in a performance that reminds us he played General Zod in Superman II).
Liar Liar: Fletcher’s life changes magically when his distraught son, Max, makes a wish on his birthday. It is never really explained how this happens — which is kind of nice, believe it or not.
The Winner: Yes Man. Liar Liar‘s setup is cute and simple, to be sure, but it’s hard to deny the scene-stealing outrageousness Terrence Stamp brings to his part — he makes us want to say yes to everything.
The Love Interest
Yes Man: Carl falls for quirky moped-riding, alt-music-performing photographer Allison (the adorable Zooey Deschanel), who mistakes him for the kind of fellow adventurous free spirit she’s always been looking for.
Liar Liar: Fletcher’s still carrying a torch for ex-wife Audrey (Maura Tierney), who has traded him in for earnest super-yuppie Jerry (Cary Elwes). Needless to say, she finds Fletcher too untrustworthy and unreliable.
The Winner: Liar Liar. It’s more realistic. Not to mention the fact that Carrey just seems way too old for Deschanel — the scenes between them actually feel kind of creepy.
The Moral of the Story
Yes Man: Remain open to new experiences; you never know where they might lead. Of course, they can lead to horrible ends — in which case it’s important to say no to new experiences sometimes as well. Besides, your fun-loving girlfriend might not be that keen on you getting a Persian Internet bride. Or something.
Liar Liar: Don’t lie. Unless you’re a lawyer, in which case you sometimes have to lie, or else your guilty client might go to jail. Wait — what?
The Winner: Yes Man — barely. There’s a reason we don’t go to Jim Carrey movies for moral lessons.
Yes Man: Jim Carrey’s a little older, sure, and sometimes his improvisational riffs feel a little desperate — like one of those dreaded late-period Robin Williams comedies. But he can still crack us up.
Liar Liar: One of those rare instances when the right actor and the right setup come together at just the right moment — and all everyone else has to do is get out of the way.
And the winner is…: Liar Liar. It’s simply one of the best comedies of the 1990s.