Liar Liar: The Unspoken Aftermath Explained



Liar Liar: The Unspoken Aftermath Explained


            The 90s classic Jim Carrey comedy Liar Liar is an amazing example of oddball humor wrapped in an admirable morality lesson. Carrey’s character, divorced attorney/dad Fletcher Reed, known both for doting on his son Max and his extreme dishonesty, receives a harsh lesson in humility after breaking his promise to attend Max’s birthday. Heartbroken, the boy makes a wish that for just one day Fletcher can’t tell a lie, initiating a series of farcical events as the latter takes on a major divorce trial. Yet, despite the oddities and shattering failures he encounters, Fletcher learns the value of honesty as well as how awful he’s been to both Max and his ex-wife Audrey, factors that ironically hit hardest after his victory in court turns his client into a monster out to destroy her ex. He ruins his career and even winds up in jail because of his actions, but he’s able to restore his family and restart, making the film’s legacy on the virtues of honesty that much greater.

            However, one element of the movie that’s always nagged me: his client, Samantha Cole, and the way the film left her sauntering off victorious. Sadly, her tale is only just beginning, and the filmmakers should’ve explained what would’ve happened later…nothing of which would’ve been in her favor. To better understand this, let’s go over the facts of the case. Samantha was divorcing her husband, Richard, after being caught cheating on him (7x too). Unfortunately, the case against her looks ironclad because she signed a prenup that said, if she commits adultery, she’s entitled to nothing. However, she wins on a technicality: she lied about her age to get married, meaning she was 17 AKA a minor at the time, and, according to California law, a minor can’t enter a legally binding contract (like a prenup) without parental consent. Therefore, the prenup is void, standard community property applies, and she gets half the marital assets, or $11.395 million. Yet, she changes her mind about giving Richard sole custody of their kids, hoping to get more via child support, courtesy of the spiel Fletcher spun in his office earlier. Thus, she storms off with the kids screaming and crying for their dad as court adjourns.

            It’s an ugly moment, but audiences should know something: her future is bleak. To prove Samantha was underage when she got married, Fletcher had her admit on the stand she lied about 3 items on her driver’s license. The first 2 were her hair color and weight, which no one will fuss over, since hair can be dyed and weight fluctuates, but then there’s the 3rd item—her birthdate. That’s different, mainly because, when you get your license, there’s a big clause on the bottom of the form that says it’s a crime to “willfully and knowingly” falsify information on it. Since she admitted to doing just that on the stand AKA on the record, there’s no excuse and no defense. More importantly, she’s been lying like this for 14 years (she got married at 17 and is now 31), meaning she’s lied on that same form every time she renewed her license, adding to her list of crimes. Worse, she lied about her age on the prenup too, which is another official document (i.e. signed under the pains/penalties of perjury), so that’s another charge. Chances are, given her level of dishonesty, she probably also lied on things like her insurance, the title to her home or cars, and many other legalities involved in her marriage. Put bluntly, she’s going to jail, and the court will no doubt shoot down her custody claim anyway due to the adultery and her dishonesty; the judge will probably permanently revoke her custodial rights too, especially after Fletcher’s yelling about Richard, “This man is a good father!”

            Yet, the problems for Samantha are only just beginning. Besides going to prison, she’ll also lose her driver’s license and have to pay hefty fines/penalties for the perjury; the DA might even charge her with conspiracy, an open-and-shut case given the aforementioned continual lies about her license, known as “acts in furtherance”. Another issue with those lies is the stigma of perjury, one of the cardinal sins of the legal profession which, according to the rules of evidence, for a set period (10 years if I recall correctly) after she’s released from jail, her conviction for those charges automatically comes in as evidence if she’s in court again; the judge can’t throw it out during that time without risking grounds for appeal, either. It’ll follow her the rest of her life, even when the news becomes discretionary.

Another penalty set to be taken in account is strictly financial. Samantha’s legal bills are enormous (Fletcher’s boss earlier mentioned the case “is worth a truckload of money”), an amount that’s about to increase due to the custody case and all her criminal charges, and she can’t get alimony from her ex due to her deception (marital licenses are legal documents too). That doesn’t even include the taxes she’ll have to pay on her settlement (California’s are some of the highest in the country), taking another massive bite out of her wallet. And there’s one more bit to consider: if she lied on her insurance, whomever her carriers are will cancel her coverage before coming after her, meaning she’ll have more legal bills and probably hefty damages to pay to those companies. With that much scandal, it’s highly doubtful her lover, Kenneth, will stick around, so that’s another bit of flavor in her serving of humble pie.

            So, let’s sum it all up: Samantha will have lost her marriage, children, credibility, lover, driver’s license, and insurance…all in one shot. Furthermore, she’ll have a criminal record, mounting legal bills, a bulletproof case against her for insurance fraud, and explosive tax bills. Point blank, by the time everything is said and done, her $11.395 million purse will probably have dropped to barely 1/100th that, likely less, leaving the ex-Mrs. Cole in her own worst-case scenario—“a 31-year old divorcee on welfare.” Poetic justice is therefore served, especially in a film where those who lie are exposed and humiliated. Thus, for all those who worried about the kids, there’s no need, for they’ll soon be back with their dad, and mommy will be occupying a jail cell while trying to figure out how to make ends meet for the foreseeable future.


Andrew Nickerson

Andrew's originally from Massachusetts, and is a lifelong movie fan. He has a BA in History (English minor) from UMASS Lowell and JD from Mass. School of Law. He's self-published a novella on Amazon, and printed 1 article apiece on Polygon, Anime Herald, and Pipeline Artists, 2 more on Ariel Chart, 1 article and 1 short story on Academy of Heart and Mind, a short story in Evening Street Review's 2022 Winter Edition, an article in the August 2023 edition of "Alice Says Go F*** Yourself" online magazine, and recently printed another article in NewMyths' September issue.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post