By Ken Tucker
June 18, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

Given how many TV movies there have been on the subject of child abuse, it was inevitable that one would come along constructed around the idea of the child as the victimizer. In Liar, Liar, 11-year-old Kelley (Vanessa King) hears a lecture at school about the dangers of sexual molestation. This gives Kelley an idea. She’s peeved at her dad (Art Hindle) for being so strict, and she tells a friend, ”I’m gonna get him.” Kelley accuses her father of having sex with her, and he’s promptly arrested; Kate Nelligan (The Prince of Tides) has a small role as Kelley’s attorney. Liar, Liar, a Canadian production, would have been stronger if its plot twist wasn’t so labored. Kelley is made to seem such a pathological fibber; well before she makes her charge of incest, there are numerous scenes in which her family catches her in lies. But if Kelley was just a vicious little liar, the movie wouldn’t have anywhere to go, and so midway through, the possibility is raised that her father truly has assaulted her. Liar, Liar, written by Nancy Isaak, features a sturdy, seri-ous performance from young King, but the movie ends up reducing child abuse to the facile twists and turns of a plot device. C

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