Big Fat Liar
|Big Fat Liar|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Shawn Levy|
|Produced by||Brian Robbins
Michael Goldman (exec.)
|Screenplay by||Dan Schneider|
|Story by||Dan Schneider
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Editing by||Stuart Pappé
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Running time||88 minutes|
Big Fat Liar is a 2002 American teen comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, written and produced by Dan Schneider and Brian Robbins, and starring Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti, and Amanda Bynes. The main plot revolves around 14-year-old con artist named Jason Shepherd (Muniz), whose creative writing assignment is stolen by an arrogant Hollywood producer named Marty Wolf (Giamatti), who plans to use it to make the fictional film of the same name.
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (September 2012)|
Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a 14-year old pathological liar and con artist, deceiving and misleading his way out of trouble. After Jason fails to complete a creative writing assignment for class his teacher gives him a day to write it, or flunk and go to summer school. Struggling at first, Jason writes a story entitled Big Fat Liar, inspired by how he lies throughout his life. On his way to school Jason has a run in with arrogant Hollywood producer Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti), whom he convinces to give him a ride. During the ride, Wolf reveals to Jason that he is also a liar and con man, but more professional. Jason accidentally forgets his report in Wolf's limousine. Wolf initially attempts to give it back to Jason, but when he sees that it is excellent, he decides to keep it for himself.
Jason realizes his paper is missing, and neither his parents or teacher believe his story. Later, Jason and his friend Kaylee, (Amanda Bynes) find out that Wolf has plagiarized his paper, turning it into a film. Jason and Kaylee use their savings to fly to Los Angeles to confront Wolf. Upon their arrival in Los Angeles, they trick limo driver Frank Jackson (Donald Faison) into giving them a ride to Wolf's studio, where Jason tricks receptionist Astrid Barker (Rebecca Corry) into leaving her post to allow him to speak with Wolf. Wolf destroys Jason's paper and has the pair removed from his office. Angered, Jason and Kaylee plan to inconvenience Wolf until he admits to having stolen Big Fat Liar. They are helped by Frank who becomes sympathetic toward them after learning their goals. Jason and Kaylee sabotage Wolf: dyeing his skin blue and his hair orange, sending him to a birthday party where he is mistaken for a clown, and modifying the controls to his car.
As a result of these pranks, Wolf misses his appointment with his boss and president of Universal Studios, Marcus Duncan (Russell Hornsby). Wolf and Duncan meet together at a party to celebrate the premiere of another fictional film Whittaker and Fowl, which turns out to be another box office bomb. After this failure Duncan distrusts Wolf to make another movie and threatens to pull production for Big Fat Liar unless he can convince him otherwise. Jason approaches Wolf and agrees to help him in exchange for confessing to having stolen the story. Guided by Jason, Wolf makes a successful presentation which convinces Chris Ott (Shandra Duncan) to green-light Big Fat Liar but warns him should any little mishap occur, funding for the film will be withdrawn and his career will be over. However, Wolf betrays Jason again and has Jason and Kaylee banished from his office for the second time, but this time, both their schemes and hiding place location have been uncovered and revealed as well. Wolf's assistant, having grown tired of his abuse, decides to help the pair expose Wolf. Jason and Kaylee rally together with all of Wolf's abused employees and devise a plan to stop him.
As Wolf heads to the studio to begin shooting his film, his employees cause him to be late through multiple mishaps. When Wolf finally arrives on the lot, he witness Jason kidnap his stuffed monkey, Mr. Funny-Bones. After a chase across the studio, Wolf is tricked into confessing that he stole Jason's story and Duncan fires him. Jason thanks Wolf for teaching him the importance of telling the truth. He then escapes an enraged Wolf by jumping off the building and onto a stunt mat. With the truth revealed Jason finally re-establishes his trust with his parents.
In the epilogue, Big Fat Liar is later reproduced, utilizing the talents and skills of all those whom Wolf had abused, and released in theaters, with Jason credited as the writer. Meanwhile, Wolf declares bankruptcy and begins his new job as a clown, where he is beaten up by the birthday boy, the son of a man he had earlier insulted.
- Frankie Muniz as Jason Shepherd, a pathological liar. Despite poor performance in school, Jason is very smart and good with technology.
- Paul Giamatti as Marty Wolf, an arrogant Hollywood producer and a compulsive liar. Unlike Jason, he doesn't care how his lying affects others.
- Amanda Bynes as Kaylee, Jason's best friend.
- Donald Faison as Franklin "Frank" Jackson, a limo driver and struggling actor
- Russell Hornsby as Marcus "Marc" Duncan, Wolf's boss and president of Universal Studios.
- Amanda Detmer as Monty Kirkham, Wolf's assistant.
- Michael Bryan French and Christine Tucci as Harry and Carol Shepherd, Jason's parents.
- Sandra Oh as Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, Jason's English teacher.
- Alex Breckenridge as Janie Shepherd, Jason's older sister.
- Rebecca Corry as Astrid Barker, the dog-loving receptionist at the Wolf Pictures office.
- Jaleel White as Himself - often called Urkel.
- Lee Majors as Vince, an aging but nevertheless qualified stunt director.
- Sean O'Bryan as Leo "Big Wiener" Bison.
- Amy Hill as Joscelyn Davis.
- John Cho as Dustin "Dusty" Wong, the director.
- Taran Killam as Bret Callaway. He is a skateboard punk who consistently bullies Jason, and also has a crush on Kaylee.
- Jake Minor as Aaron.
- Kyle Swann as Brett.
- Sparkle as Grandma Pearl, Kaylee's senile grandmother.
- Chris Ott as Shandra Duncan Marcus's wife.
- Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond, Shawn Levy, Corinne Reilly, and Bart Myer as Wolf party guests.
- Brian Turk as Masher, a monster truck driver
- John Gatins as George, tow truck driver
- Don Yesso as Rocko Malone
The film received mixed reviews, gaining a "Rotten" rating at Rotten Tomatoes of 43%, with the site's consensus stating "Though there's nothing that offensive about Big Fat Liar, it is filled with Hollywood cliches and cartoonish slapstick, making it strictly for kids."
On the positive side, Ebert and Roeper gave the film "Two Thumbs Up". Some critics praised the film as energetic and witty; others called it dull and formulaic. Critic David Palmer gave the film a 7/10, stating that it is a fun movie for people who love the behind the scenes of making movies, and "not awful considering it's a kids film".
Big Fat Liar grossed $11.6 million in its opening weekend, finishing in second behind Collateral Damage ($15.1 million). The movie would go on to gross $40.4 million domestically and $4.6 million in other countries for a total of $52.97 million, more than tripling the $15 million budget.
- Big Fat Liar at the Internet Movie Database
- Big Fat Liar at AllMovie
- Big Fat Liar at Box Office Mojo
- Big Fat Liar at Rotten Tomatoes