Big Fat Liar

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Big Fat Liar
Big Fat Liar film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by Brian Robbins
Mike Tollin
Screenplay by Dan Schneider
Story by Dan Schneider
Brian Robbins
Starring Frankie Muniz
Paul Giamatti
Amanda Bynes
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Jonathan Brown
Edited by Stuart Pappé
Kimberly Ray
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • February 8, 2002 (2002-02-08)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Box office $53 million

Big Fat Liar is a 2002 American teen comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, written and produced by Dan Schneider and Brian Robbins with music by Christophe Beck and starring Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti, and Amanda Bynes. The film involves a 14-year-old pathological liar 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. The film was released on February 8, 2002 by Universal Pictures, receiving generally mixed reviews from critics and earning $53 million on a $15 million budget. The film was also released on DVD and VHS on September 24, 2002 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.


Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old chronic liar living in the town of Greenbury, Michigan who is constantly deceiving and misleading his way out of trouble. Jason tries to get out of writing his 1000 word essay by making up a lie, but he gets caught by his English teacher, Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, who alerts his parents, Harry and Carol Shepherd. Jason is given three hours to submit his paper, otherwise he will fail English and go to summer school. In a rush to turn in his paper, Jason accidentally forgets his report in a limousine of Hollywood producer Marty Wolf, who gives him a ride to the community college to turn in his paper after Jason is hit by the limousine. Wolf initially attempts to give the essay back to Jason, but when Wolf sees that Jason's story is excellent, it inspires him, and he decides to keep it for himself.

Jason realizes his paper is missing and tries to explain what happened when he met Marty Wolf, but neither his parents, or his literature teacher, Ms. Caldwell, believe him, and he is sent to summer school. Later, after a disgusting first day at summer school, Jason and his best friend, Kaylee, go to see a film, and upon watching the previews, they realize that Wolf has plagiarized Jason's composition homework and is turning it into a film. Jason and Kaylee fly to Los Angeles to confront Wolf, as Jason is determined to convince his parents that he truly wrote his English paper. Upon their arrival, Jason and Kaylee trick limo driver and struggling actor Frank Jackson into giving them a ride to Wolf's studio, where Jason creates a distraction, with help from Kaylee, that tricks its receptionist, Astrid Barker, into letting him speak with Wolf in his office. Jason sneaks into Wolf's office to convince him to call his father and tell him that he stole the story, but instead Wolf "accidentally" burns Jason's paper and removes him and Kaylee from his office. Angered, Jason and Kaylee plan to inconvenience Wolf until he admits to having stolen Big Fat Liar. Frank, having discovered their true identities, joins them in their plan, as he has had a troubled history with Wolf. After gathering information about Wolf's cruel and abusive treatment of his employees, Jason and Kaylee sabotage Wolf by going as far as mixing blue dye in his pool and orange food colouring in his shampoo, sending him to a child's birthday party where he is mistaken for a clown and beaten up by the young party-goers, and modifying the controls to his car. Their tampering with Wolf's car causes numerous controls to perform the incorrect function, such as the brake pedal sounding the horn and the radio playing "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" as a way of mocking his blue skin. Struggling to control his convertible, Wolf stops just behind a monster truck, but is later rear ended by an old lady, whom he had insulted earlier. Wolf accidentally crashes into the monster truck, causing its driver, a wrestler known as "The Masher", to destroy Wolf's car in anger.

These pranks cause Wolf to miss his appointment with his boss and the president of Universal Pictures, Marcus "Marc" Duncan. After another film produced by Wolf, Whitaker and Fowl, proves to be a critical and commercial failure, Duncan loses confidence in Wolf and threatens to pull production for Big Fat Liar. Jason approaches Wolf and agrees to help him in exchange for his confession to having stolen the story. Guided by Jason, Wolf makes a successful presentation which convinces Duncan's wife, Shandra (Chris Ott), to green-light Big Fat Liar, but Duncan warns Wolf that any mistakes will cause Universal to pull funding for it and end his career. However, Wolf betrays Jason again and kicks him and Kaylee out from their hiding place in a warehouse of Universal Studios. Wolf's assistant, Monty Kirkham, grows tired of being bossed around and abused by Wolf, and decides to help Jason and Kaylee to expose him. Jason and Kaylee rally all of Wolf's employees and devise a plan to stop him once and for all. As Wolf heads to the studio to begin shooting, many of his employees cause him to be late through multiple mishaps. As Wolf finally arrives to the studio, he witnesses Jason kidnapping his stuffed monkey, Mr. Funny-Bones. After a chase across the studio, Wolf childishly and prematurely celebrates his supposed victory, mocking Jason and telling him that he will never tell the truth. However, he also admits that he stole Jason's story, thinking that he will still get away with it. Much to Wolf's dismay, the altercation is caught on twelve different cameras and is witnessed by many people including Wolf's employees, the news media, Jason's parents, and Duncan. Disgusted that Wolf would steal a story from a young boy, Duncan immediately fires him from Universal due to his acts of plagiarism and dishonesty. Jason thanks Wolf for teaching him the importance of telling the truth. After escaping from Wolf and reuniting with his parents, Jason finally re-establishes his trust with them.

Universal later reproduces Big Fat Liar, utilizing the talents and skills of all those whom Wolf had abused, and the film is released in theaters, with Jason being credited during the closing credits for having written the original story. Meanwhile, Wolf, having been stripped of his career, declares bankruptcy and begins his new job as a birthday clown. Unfortunately, Wolf is recognized by the Masher, who orders his son, Darren, the birthday boy, to show Wolf his "nutcracker" manoeuvre. Wolf screams in horror as Darren charges at him and kicks his crotch, causing him to groan in pain.


  • Frankie Muniz as Jason Shepherd, a 14-year-old pathological liar and slacker who, despite his slacker personality, is actually very intelligent
  • Paul Giamatti as Marty Wolf, an arrogant Hollywood producer and compulsive liar who, unlike Jason, does not care how his lies affect other people
  • Amanda Bynes as Kaylee, Jason's best friend
  • Donald Faison as Frank Jackson, a limo driver and struggling actor who helps Jason and Kaylee in their mission to get Wolf to admit the truth
  • Russell Hornsby as Marcus "Marc" Duncan, Wolf's boss and president of Universal Pictures
  • Amanda Detmer as Monty Kirkham, Wolf's long suffering 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 irresponsible 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
  • Amy Hill as Jocelyn 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, Duncan's wife
  • Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond, Shawn Levy, Corinne Reilly, and Bart Myer as Wolf party guests
  • Brian Turk as The Masher, a monster truck driver
  • John Gatins as George, a tow truck driver
  • Don Yesso as Rocko Malone, Wolf's security boss


The film was released in cinemas on February 8, 2002 by Universal Pictures and was released on DVD and VHS on September 24, 2002 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.


This movie 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.


No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Come on Come on"   Smash Mouth 2:33
2. "Conant Gardens"   Slum Village 3:03
3. "Me Myself and I"   Jive Jones  
4. "I Wish"   Hairbrain 3:11
5. "Eye of the Tiger"   Survivor 4:29
6. "Hungry Like the Wolf"   Duran Duran 3:41
7. "Blue (Da Ba Dee)"   Eiffel 65 4:40
8. "Diablo"   Triple Seven  
9. "Disco Inferno"   The Trammps 10:54
10. "Party Time"   The Grand Skeem 3:32
11. "Backlash"   The Grand Skeem  
12. "Where ya at"   The Grand Skeem  
13. "Mind Blow"   Zion-1  
14. "Right Here Right Now"   Fatboy Slim  
15. "Move It Like This"   Baha Men 3:51

Critical response and box office[edit]

Amanda Bynes was praised by critics for her performance.

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 $48.4 million domestically and $4.6 million in other countries for a total of $53 million,[citation needed] more than tripling the $15 million budget. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a rating of 42%, based on 105 reviews, with the site's critical consensus reading, "Though there's nothing that offensive about Big Fat Liar, it is filled with Hollywood cliches and cartoonish slapstick, making it strictly for kids."[1] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[2] 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".


Award Category Nominee Result
Blimp Award, Teen Choice Award and Young Artist Award Favorite Movie Actress, Film - Choice Chemistry, Best Performance in a Feature Film - Leading Young Actress and Best Family Feature Film - Comedy Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz Won and Nominated


  1. ^ "Big Fat Liar". 8 February 2002. 
  2. ^ "Big Fat Liar". Metacritic. 

External links[edit]