Big Fat Liar

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Big Fat Liar
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Screenplay byDan Schneider
Story by
Produced by
CinematographyJonathan Brown
Edited by
  • Stuart Pappé
  • Kimberly Ray
Music byChristophe Beck
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • February 8, 2002 (2002-02-08)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$53 million[1]

Big Fat Liar (stylized as big FAT liar, or bigFATliar) is a 2002 American teen comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, and written by Dan Schneider from a story by Schneider and Brian Robbins. It stars Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes, with a supporting cast featuring Amanda Detmer, Donald Faison, Lee Majors and Russell Hornsby.

The plot, alluding to the Aesop's Fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf,[2] follows a 14-year-old compulsive liar (Muniz), whose creative writing assignment "Big Fat Liar" is stolen by an arrogant Hollywood producer (Giamatti), who later plans to use it to make the fictional film of the same name. It was released in the United States on February 8, 2002, to commercial success and mixed critical reviews.


Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old compulsive liar living in the town of Greenbury, Michigan who tries to lie his way out of a creative writing assignment, but gets caught by his English teacher, who alerts his parents. He is given three hours to submit his essay and avoid repeating English in summer school. At first, Jason struggles to come up with inspiration for his essay. But after remembering an earlier comment from his father about making up stories being his God-given talent, he writes a story titled "Big Fat Liar," drawing inspiration from his lying. While riding his sister's old bike to turn in the essay, Jason is accidentally struck by the limousine of Marty Wolf, an arrogant, unscrupulous Hollywood producer, who is convinced by Jason to give him a ride. Marty, also a compulsive liar, is in town shooting his film Whitaker and Fowl. In a rush, Jason accidentally leaves his essay in the limo when it falls out of his backpack. Inspired, Marty keeps the story for himself. Realising his essay is missing, Jason tries to explain what happened but gets sent to summer school.

Jason and his best friend, Kaylee, discover Marty has plagiarized Jason's essay into a film when they see a theatrical trailer. They fly to Los Angeles while their parents are out of town for the weekend and sneak into Marty's studio office to request that Marty confess to his parents, but he purposefully burns Jason's essay and calls security to remove them. Angered, the two plot to inconvenience him until he confesses. Marty's former limo driver and struggling actor, Frank Jackson, agrees to help. Jason and Kaylee sabotage Marty through pranks such as dyeing his skin blue via his swimming pool and his hair orange via his shampoo. They also superglue his headset to his ear; trick him into going to a child's birthday party, where the children mistake him for the hired clown and attack him; and tamper with his car's controls, which causes Marty's car to malfunction. Marty's car is also rear-ended by a cranky elderly woman into a monster truck owned by the Masher, a wrestler, who destroys it.

These pranks cause Marty to miss both of his appointments with Universal Pictures president Marcus Duncan. Marty has plans to produce Big Fat Liar with Universal Pictures, but Marcus, seeing the commercial and critical failure of Whitaker and Fowl, refuses to approve the budget, so Jason agrees to help Marty in exchange for his confession to his parents. With Jason's advice, Marty makes a successful presentation and gets the film approved by Universal, but Marcus warns Marty that any more problems will result in Universal pulling the plug and ending his career. Marty subsequently betrays Jason and calls security to remove him and Kaylee again. Marty's abused assistant, Monty Kirkham, offers to help Jason and Kaylee expose him. They rally Marty's other tormented employees, while Jason calls his parents to tell them the truth about the weekend.

The next morning, Marty heads to the studio to begin filming Big Fat Liar, but his employees delay him through many mishaps. As Marty finally arrives, he encounters Jason, who kidnaps his stuffed monkey toy, Mr. Funnybones. Jason flees across the studio, luring Marty to a rooftop where he retrieves his toy and mocks Jason. Marty boastfully admits his actions, unaware the entire conversation is being witnessed by Jason's parents, the media, and Marcus, who immediately fires him. Jason thanks Marty for teaching him an important lesson about the truth. Marty furiously tries to attack him, but Jason leaps off the building and safely lands on a stunt cushion, where he finally regains his parents' trust.

Universal produces Big Fat Liar soon after Marty's firing while using the skills of people he had abused. The film becomes a critical success, and Jason receives full credit for writing his original story. Meanwhile, Marty declares bankruptcy and begins a new job as a birthday clown. At a party, the Masher orders his son, Darren, to kick Marty in the crotch. He screams in horror and upon impact grunts and groans.


  • Frankie Muniz as Jason Shepherd, a 14-year-old compulsive liar and slacker.
  • Paul Giamatti as Marty Wolf, a Hollywood producer and founder of the fictional Marty Wolf Pictures film studio, which is associated with Universal Pictures: unlike Jason, Marty does not care how his lies affect other people.
  • Amanda Bynes as Kaylee, Jason's best friend, whom he often talks into helping out with his lies and schemes.
  • Amanda Detmer as Monty Kirkham, Marty's long suffering assistant.
  • Donald Faison as Frank Jackson, Marty's former limo driver and a struggling actor who helps Jason and Kaylee in their mission to get him back after being unfairly fired by him the year before.
  • Sandra Oh as Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, Jason and Kaylee's eighth-grade English teacher.
  • Russell Hornsby as Marcus Duncan, who is promoted from vice-president to president of Universal Pictures.
  • Michael Bryan French as Harry Shepherd, Jason's father.
  • Christine Tucci as Carol Shepherd, Jason's mother.
  • Lee Majors as Vince, an aging, but nevertheless qualified, stunt coordinator.
  • Sean O'Bryan as Leo
  • Amy Hill as Jocelyn Davis, the senior vice-president of publicity at Marty Wolf Pictures.
  • John Cho as Dusty Wong, the director of the Big Fat Liar film.
  • Matthew Frauman as Lester Golub, a computer and special effects expert.
  • Don Yesso as Rocco Malone
  • Rebecca Corry as Astrid Barker, the receptionist at Marty Wolf Pictures who cares a lot about dogs.
  • Sparkle as Grandma Pearl, Kaylee's senile grandmother.
  • Taran Killam as Bret Callaway, a dimwitted skateboard punk who consistently bullies Jason and is tutored by Kaylee.
  • Alex Breckenridge as Janie Shepherd, Jason's older sister who prefers spending time at her boyfriend Rudy's than looking after him.
  • Ned Brower as Rudy, Janie's boyfriend.
  • Michelle Griffin as Shandra Duncan, Marcus' wife.
  • Pat O'Brien as himself, where he interviews Marty about Big Fat Liar and covering the premiere of Whitaker and Fowl.
  • Brian Turk as The Masher, a wrestler and monster truck driver. He has a young son (who has an identical resemblance to him) who is credited as "Darren", and is nicknamed "Little Mash" by his father.

Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond and the film's director Shawn Levy appear as guests at the after party of the premiere of Wolf's action comedy Whitaker and Fowl, which they criticise. Jaleel White also appears uncredited as himself, starring as Officer Fowl in Whitaker and Fowl. White is annoyed that Wolf often calls him "Urkel".



Big Fat Liar was filmed from March to June 2001.[citation needed]

The film was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Flash Flood set, and Los Angeles International Airport, as well as in Glendale, Monrovia, Pasadena, and Whittier, California.

The exotic Intermec 6651 Handheld PC appears as the computer used by Lester Golub to help Jason by releasing a stream of water into Marty's path.[3]


The film's soundtrack was released by Mercury Records in 2002.

1."Come On, Come On"Smash Mouth2:33
2."Conant Gardens"Slum Village3:03
3."Me, Myself & I"Jive Jones3:25
4."I Wish"Hairbrain3:11
5."Eye of the Tiger"Survivor4:29
6."Hungry Like the Wolf"Duran Duran3:41
7."Blue (Da Ba Dee)"Eiffel 653:40
8."Diablo"Triple Seven 
9."Disco Inferno"The Trammps10:54
10."Party Time"The Grand Skeem3:32
11."Backlash"The Grand Skeem 
12."Where Ya At"The Grand Skeem 
13."Mind Blow"Zion I4:38
14."Right Here Right Now"Fatboy Slim6:27
15."Move It Like This"Baha Men3:51


The film was released in cinemas on February 8, 2002, by Universal Pictures and was released on VHS and DVD in Full Screen format in Region 1 while in region 2 was released in Widescreen on September 24, 2002, by Universal Studios Home Entertainment. The DVD release contains an unlockable cheat code for Spyro 2: Season of Flame that turns Spyro the Dragon blue, as seen in one of Jason's pranks on Marty. It was released on Blu-ray in Widescreen format for the first time in Region 1 on March 4, 2014.[4]


Box office[edit]

The film grossed $48.4 million in the United States and Canada and $4.6 million in other countries for a worldwide total of $53 million, against a budget of $15 million.[1]

The film grossed $11.6 million in its opening weekend, finishing in second at the box office behind Collateral Damage ($15.1 million).[5][6]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 45% based on 94 reviews, with an average rating of 5/10. The site's critical consensus read, "Though there's nothing that offensive about Big Fat Liar, it is filled with Hollywood cliches and cartoonish slapstick, making it strictly for kids."[7] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score 36 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[8] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A−" on an A+ to F scale.[9]

Some critics called the film energetic and witty, but others called it dull and formulaic. Ebert and Roeper gave it "Two Thumbs Up".[citation needed] In his review for the Chicago Sun-Times Ebert gave it 3 out of 4, and called it "A surprisingly entertaining movie [...] ideal for younger kids, and not painful for their parents."[10] Michael O'Sullivan of The Washington Post called the film "an innocent comedic revenge fantasy that somehow manages to be sweet and wickedly satisfying at the same time."[11]


Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2002 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Chemistry Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Family Feature Film – Comedy Big Fat Liar Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Amanda Bynes Nominated
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Amanda Bynes Won


In August 2016, it was announced that a standalone sequel had begun principal photography.[15] Bigger Fatter Liar starred Ricky Garcia as Kevin Shepherd, Jodelle Ferland as Becca, and Barry Bostwick as Larry Wolf. The plot, though unrelated to the first film, was similar in many ways to Big Fat Liar. Released directly to DVD in April 2017, the film was met with critical and commercial failure.[16] It was later released on Blu-ray in July 2018.[17]

Potential future[edit]

In March 2022, Shawn Levy revealed that he has always wanted to make a direct-sequel to Big Fat Liar, stating that the plot would include a Marty Wolf revenge story. The filmmaker referenced the revitalized Real Steel franchise in the form of the upcoming television series, as hope for a future Big Fat Liar sequel to be made.[18]


  1. ^ a b c "Big Fat Liar (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 3, 2022.
  2. ^ "Big Fat Liar". Empire. January 2000. Retrieved August 11, 2022.
  3. ^ "Starring the Computer - Intermec 6651".
  4. ^ Big Fat Liar Blu-ray Release Date March 4, 2014, retrieved February 21, 2021
  5. ^ Dave Karger (February 12, 2002). "Collateral Damage tops the box office". Entertainment Weekly.
  6. ^ DAVID GERMAIN (February 11, 2002). "'Collateral Damage' Muscles Into No. 1". Los Angeles Times. people weren't beating down the doors to see any of these movies
  7. ^ "Big Fat Liar (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  8. ^ "Big Fat Liar Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  9. ^ "BIG FAT LIAR (2002) A-". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  10. ^ Ebert, Roger (February 8, 2002). "Big Fat Liar". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved April 1, 2022.
  11. ^ O'Sullivan, Michael (February 8, 2002). "Big Fat Liar Review". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2022.
  12. ^ "2002 Teen Choice Awards [page 2]". The Oklahoman. August 18, 2002. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "24th Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on December 4, 2016.
  14. ^ Gary Susman (April 14, 2003). "Sandler, Bynes, win big at Kids Choice Awards". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  15. ^ "Legion Season 1, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Beaches & Big Fat Liar 2 Start Filming". What's Filming?. August 15, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  16. ^ "From Universal Pictures Home Entertainment: Ricky Garcia And Barry Bostwick Go Head To Head In The All-New Side-Splitting Comedy Bigger Fatter Liar" (Press release). Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. February 8, 2017. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017 – via KUSI.
  17. ^ " Bigger Fatter Liar [Blu-ray]". July 10, 2018. Retrieved February 27, 2021.
  18. ^ El-Mahmoud, Sarah (March 11, 2022). "Shawn Levy Tells Us His Big Fat Liar 2 Idea, And We Are All In". Cinemablend. Retrieved March 27, 2022.

External links[edit]