Big Fat Liar

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

Big Fat Liar is a 2002 American teen comedy film, directed by Shawn Levy, written by Dan Schneider and Brian Robbins, and starring Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti, Amanda Bynes, Amanda Detmer, Donald Faison, Lee Majors, Russell Hornsby, and Kenan Thompson.

The film tells a story about a 14-year-old pathological liar, Jason Shepherd (Muniz), whose creative writing assignment is stolen by an arrogant Hollywood producer, Marty Wolf (Giamatti), who later plans to use it to make the fictional film of the same name. The film is an allusion to the Aesop's Fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, with Jason Shepherd being analogous to the shepherd boy in the story and Marty Wolf, analogous to the wolf. It was released in the United States on February 8, 2002.

Plot[edit]

Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old pathological liar. He tries to avoid a creative writing essay by lying, but his English teacher Ms. Caldwell alerts his parents, giving him three hours to submit his essay or he will fail English and go to summer school.

Jason writes a story titled Big Fat Liar, based on lies he has told throughout his life. On his way to turn it in, he is struck by the limousine of film producer Marty Wolf, in town filming the fictional United action comedy Whittaker and Fowl. Agreeing to give Jason a ride to school, Marty reveals that he also tells lies. Jason forgets his essay in the limo; Marty initially tries to return it, but is inspired by the story and keeps it for himself.

With Jason's essay missing, his parents and Ms. Caldwell do not believe what happened and send him to summer school. He and his friend Kaylee see a preview for a film by Marty Wolf Pictures titled Big Fat Liar, realizing it was plagiarized from Jason's essay.

Determined to regain his parents’ trust, Jason and Kaylee fly to Los Angeles to confront Marty. There, they trick limo driver and struggling actor Frank Jackson into driving them to Marty Wolf Pictures. Jason sneaks into Marty's office, hoping to convince him to tell his parents the truth, but Marty burns the essay and has Jason and Kaylee thrown out.

They decide to inconvenience him until he confesses, joined by Frank due to his own troubled history with Marty. After Frank tells them about Marty's cruelty to his employees, the three sabotage Marty through various pranks – dying his skin blue and hair orange, gluing his headset to his ear, tricking him into going to a child's birthday party where he is mistaken for a clown and beaten, and tampering with his car. Marty's car is rear-ended by an elderly woman and crashes forward into a monster truck, leading to an argument with the truck driver, who crushes Marty's car.

These incidents lead Marty to miss two appointments with Marcus Duncan, president of Universal Pictures. After the critical and box-office failure of Whittaker and Fowl, Duncan refuses to produce Big Fat Liar unless Marty can convince him otherwise. Agreeing to help Marty in exchange for his confession, Jason guides him through a successful presentation which gets Big Fat Liar green-lit, but Marcus warns Marty any mistakes will make Universal pull funding and end his career. Marty betrays Jason again, calling security to arrest him and Kaylee. Marty's assistant Monty Kirkham, tired of his abuse, decides to help Jason and Kaylee. They rally Marty's employees and devise a plan to expose him for good, while Jason has his parents fly to Los Angeles.

On the first day of shooting, Marty's employees cause him to be late through multiple mishaps. Reaching the studio, he witnesses Jason kidnapping his beloved stuffed monkey toy. Retrieving his toy, Marty taunts Jason that he will never reveal the truth, admitting that he stole Jason's paper and turned it into Big Fat Liar. The conversation is revealed to have been caught on camera, witnessed by Jason's parents, Kaylee's grandmother, the media, Duncan and his family, and every studio executive. Duncan fires Marty, whom Jason thanks for teaching him the importance of truth-telling. A furious Marty gives chase, but Jason escapes by jumping off the building onto an air sack. He reunites with his parents, having regained their trust, and Marty is abandoned by his employees.

Universal goes on to produce Big Fat Liar, utilizing all the people Marty had abused over the years, and starring Frank. The film is a success, and Jason is given credit for writing the original story, making his parents and Ms. Caldwell proud.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, Marty Wolf Pictures is closed after Marty declares bankruptcy. He begins his new job as a birthday clown, where the birthday boy's father is revealed to be the monster truck driver, who recognizes Marty and encourages his son to kick him in the groin as the guests cheer.

Cast[edit]

  • Frankie Muniz as Jason Shepherd, a 14-year-old compulsive liar and slacker who - despite his layabout personality - is actually quite intelligent.
  • Paul Giamatti as Marty Wolf, an arrogant Hollywood producer who is also the founder of the fictional Marty Wolf Pictures film studio: in contrast to Jason, though, Marty does not care how his lies affect other people. After getting fired, he becomes bankrupt. By the end of the film, he gets a new job as a birthday clown.
  • 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 defeat Marty. By the end of the film, he becomes an actor, starring in Big Fat Liar as the lead character, Kenny Trooper.
  • Russell Hornsby as Marcus Duncan, Marty's boss and president of Universal Pictures.
  • Amanda Detmer as Monty Kirkham, Marty's long suffering assistant.
  • Michael Bryan French as Harry Shepherd, Jason's father.
  • Christine Tucci as Carol Shepherd, Jason's mother.
  • Alex Breckenridge as Janie Shepherd, Jason's irresponsible older sister.
  • Sandra Oh as Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, Jason's English teacher.
  • Rebecca Corry as Astrid Barker, the dog-loving receptionist at the Wolf Pictures studio.
  • Jaleel White as himself, he was cast in Marty Wolf's Whitaker and Fowl and was often called Urkel by him.
  • Lee Majors as Vince, an aging, but nevertheless qualified, stunt director.
  • Sean O'Bryan as Leo
  • Amy Hill as Jocelyn Davis, a worker at Marty Wolf Pictures.
  • John Cho as Dusty Wong, the director.
  • Taran Killam as Bret Callaway, a skateboard punk who consistently bullies Jason and also has a crush on Kaylee.
  • Jake Minor as Aaron
  • Kyle Swann as Brett, a friend of Bret
  • Sparkle (born Rachel Glusman) as Grandma Pearl, Kaylee's senile grandmother.
  • Ted Rooney as Boring Teacher
  • Chris Ott as Shandra Duncan, Marcus's wife.
  • Brian Turk as The Masher, a wrestler and monster truck driver who Marty crosses when he is rear-ended into his monster truck.
  • John Gatins as George, a tow truck driver.
  • Don Yesso as Rocko Malone, Marty's security boss.
  • Pat O'Brien as himself

Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond, Shawn Levy, Corinne Reilly, and Bart Myer appear as party guests at a party following the premiere of Whitaker and Fowl where they criticize it in their party interviews.

Production[edit]

Filming[edit]

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 one of Marty's disgruntled employees to help Jason by releasing a stream of water into Marty's path.[2]

Soundtrack[edit]

No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Come on Come on"Smash Mouth2:33
2."Conant Gardens"Slum Village3:03
3."Me Myself and 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 654:40
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-1 
14."Right Here Right Now"Fatboy Slim 
15."Move It Like This"Baha Men3:51

Release[edit]

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

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $48.4 million in the U.S. 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).

Critical response[edit]

Big Fat Liar received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 42% based on 92 reviews with an average rating of 4.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though there's nothing that offensive about Big Fat Liar, it is filled with Hollywood cliches and cartoonish slapstick, making it strictly for kids."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

Some critics praised the film as energetic and witty; others called it dull and formulaic. On the positive side, Ebert and Roeper gave it "Two Thumbs Up". Critic David Palmer gave it a 7/10, stating that it is a fun one for people who love the behind the scenes of making movies, and "not awful considering it's a kids film".

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Refs
2002 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Chemistry Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz Nominated
[6]
Young Artist Awards Best Family Feature Film – Comedy Big Fat Liar Nominated
[7]
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Amanda Bynes Nominated
[7]
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Amanda Bynes Won
[8]

Remake[edit]

A remake of Big Fat Liar began filming in August 2016.[9] The film titled Bigger Fatter Liar starred Ricky Garcia as Kevin Shepherd, Jodelle Ferland as Becca, and Barry Bostwick as Larry Wolf. It was released on DVD in April 2017.[10] On March 31st 2019 the movie-centric podcast Cult Popture revealed that a third film was in the works via a correspondence with the director of "Bigger Fatter Liar".[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Big Fat Liar (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  2. ^ "Starring the Computer - Intermec 6651". www.starringthecomputer.com.
  3. ^ "Big Fat Liar". rottentomatoes.com. February 8, 2002.
  4. ^ "Big Fat Liar". Metacritic.
  5. ^ http://m.cinemascore.com[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "2002 Teen Choice Awards [page 2]". The Oklahoman. August 18, 2002. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "24th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on December 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Gary Susman (April 14, 2003). "Sandler, Bynes, win big at Kids Choice Awards". Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Legion Season 1, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Beaches & Big Fat Liar 2 Start Filming". What's Filming?. August 15, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ ""Big Fat Liar" & "Bigger Fatter Liar" (ft. Phoebe from WatchMojo) - Film Franchise Fortnights". March 31, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019 – via Soundcloud.

External links[edit]