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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Movie Review for the Mindful Parent: Liar Liar

Okay, so recently my mom and I were talking about movies, and how a lot of the ratings don't tell a parent enough to make an accurate decision regarding whether or not the movie is okay for their kid to watch. This is because we all parent differently, and all kids mature at a different pace. What might be okay for one thirteen-year-old to watch may not be considered "appropriate" by another mother until her child is much older. In light of this, I decided to start watching movies and posting reviews up about them, the kind that my mom would want to see. Hopefully this will help families to determine what is okay for their kids to watch, without any "surprise" moments in the middle of the movie!

This review is about Liar Liar, a movie starring Jim Carrey and Maura Tierney. In the movie, the main character, played by Jim Carrey, finds himself suddenly unable to lie due to a birthday wish made by his five-year-old son - a bad predicament for a lawyer to be in. With his career and his son's trust on the line, he has to find a way to win his case and convince his ex-wife that he can be a good father before it's too late.

My opinion of the movie, pre-kids: I loved this movie. It's always made me laugh, and I enjoy watching Jim Carrey tell it just like it is. The idea of not being able to tell even a little white lie is already ridiculous, combine that with his actor-personality and you've got a great movie. While the relationship story of this film adds the bit of drama that was a necessity for the 90's, the sorta-sappy ending seems a bit much, even though I'm rooting for the happy-ending the whole time.

My opinion of the movie, post-kids: Whooooaaa! I forgot just how much swearing there is in this movie! I remembered this as one of those films that was safe enough to let my siblings watch, at the least. After re-watching it from a parent's perspective, I can safely say that this is a film I wouldn't want any of my youngest six siblings to see, and two of them are within the age range given by the rating. The rating for this movie was PG-13, but if I had to pick a random age for kid-watching, I would say take it closer to 16 or 17. That can vary from parent-to-parent and from child-to-child of course, depending on morals, maturity, personal family values, and more. So just to cover everything, I included some notes on the movie below to help out parents who are looking to screen out certain concepts and situations.

Sexual References: Not only are there sexual references in this movie, but there is some rather vivid sexual phrasing, fondling and mentions of fondling, a tape playing sounds and conversation of two people having intercourse, crude joking about sex, direct talk about sex, undressing for sex, pillow-talk after sex, and two people in their underclothes after having sex.

Swearing: There were almost 40 instances of swearing and/or words I wouldn't want my kids to repeat (like slut or prick) in this movie, although the dreaded F-Bomb was not one of them. There were repeated instances of taking God's name in vain, and random bouts of name-calling and insults that are peppered with some interesting words and phrases.

Crudity: There is a crude reference to the main character's penis, crude sexual language, a couple of fart jokes, and a joke about "bending over" and taking it (although they never directly mention where).

Issues of Note (These are for parents who have not discussed certain aspects of life with their children, and are not ready to broach these subjects yet.): This movie contains a theme surrounding a broken home, divorce, and relationship infidelity. Some tough issues may include parents dating other people post-divorce, adultery, illegitimacy, remarrying, separation, and custody battles.

Other (This is for anything else that I feel has the potential to become a discussion or a point of contention.): A couple of mentions regarding alcohol, a scene with someone drinking alcohol, "magic" as in a wish coming true, issues regarding morality and lying, issues regarding the possible immoralities of the legal system, a mention of spousal abuse, and an implied sense that divorced parents sometimes get back together for a "happy ending".

I understand that not all of these issues are "hot-buttons" for some families, and for others, this type of information is just the sort of thing they look for when they are trying to grab a movie on a Friday night. My intent is not to tell any of you which issues you should screen out, but rather to highlight them to everyone so that each person can make an informed decision.

Questions, comments, suggestions? Let me know what you think in the comment area below, I love chatting with my readers!

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