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 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 compulsive liar living in Michigan. He tries to get out of his creative writing essay by making up a lie, but gets caught by his English teacher Phyllis Caldwell, who alerts his parents. He is given three hours to submit his essay or he will fail English and attend summer school. Jason uses his talent for lying to write a story titled "Big Fat Liar". While riding his bike to turn in the essay, he is struck by the limousine of Hollywood producer Marty Wolf, who gives him a ride. Marty is in town shooting an action comedy film, Whitaker and Fowl. During the ride, Marty admits he also tells lies and that the truth is overrated. In a rush, Jason accidentally leaves his essay in the limo. Marty is inspired by the story upon reading it and decides to keep it for himself. Realizing his essay is missing, Jason explains what happened, but neither his parents nor Caldwell believe him and he is sent to summer school to repeat English.

Later, Jason and his best friend Kaylee discover Marty has plagiarized Jason's essay into a film upon seeing a preview for it. They fly to Los Angeles while their parents are out of town, and Jason sneaks into Marty’s office at the Marty Wolf Pictures studio to request that Marty confess to his parents, only for Marty to purposefully burn the essay and call security to remove Jason and Kaylee. Angered, the two decide to inconvenience him until he confesses. Due to his own troubled history with Marty, limo driver and struggling actor Frank Jackson agrees to help Jason and Kaylee as they sabotage Marty through various pranks such as dying his skin blue and hair orange; super gluing his headset to his ear; tricking him into going to a child's birthday party, where the young guests mistake him for a clown and beat him up; and tampering the controls to his car, causing it to malfunction. Additionally, Marty's car is rear-ended by an elderly woman, knocking his vehicle forward into a monster truck owned by a wrestler known as The Masher. Thinking Marty purposely hit him, The Masher destroys the car.

Marty intends to produce Big Fat Liar with Universal Pictures, but Universal president Marcus Duncan loses confidence in Marty after the critical and box office failure of Whitaker and Fowl. Marcus declines to approve the budget for Big Fat Liar, so Jason agrees to help Marty in exchange for his confession. With Jason's advice, Marty makes a successful presentation which gets the film approved by Universal, but Marty subsequently betrays Jason and calls security to remove him and Kaylee. Wolf's assistant, Monty Kirkham, has grown tired of his behavior and decides to help Jason and Kaylee. They gather Marty's other tormented employees and devise a plan to expose him, while Jason has his parents fly to Los Angeles.

The next morning, Marty heads to the studio to begin filming, but his employees delay him through multiple mishaps. As Marty finally arrives, he encounters Jason, who has stolen his stuffed monkey toy Mr. Funnybones. Jason flees across the studio, luring Marty to a rooftop where he retrieves his toy and mocks Jason for trying to make him confess, admitting his actions and proclaiming he will never tell the truth to anyone. The entire conversation is revealed to have been caught on camera and is witnessed by Jason's parents, the media, and Marcus, who immediately fires Marty. After Jason thanks Marty for teaching him the importance of honesty, 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 without Marty's involvement while utilizing the skills of people whom Marty had abused. The film becomes a critical success, with Jason receiving full credit for writing the original story, pleasing Jason's parents and Caldwell.

Meanwhile, Marty, having been stripped of his career and fortune, declares bankruptcy and begins a new job as a birthday clown. During a visit to a birthday party, he is kicked in his crotch by Darren, the birthday boy and son of the Masher.

Cast[edit]

  • 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: in contrast to Jason, Marty does not care how his lies affect other people.
  • Amanda Bynes as Kaylee, Jason's best friend.
  • Amanda Detmer as Monty Kirkham, Marty's long suffering assistant who goes on to produce Big Fat Liar with Universal.
  • 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.
  • Sandra Oh as Mrs. Phyllis Caldwell, Jason and Kaylee's English teacher.
  • Russell Hornsby as Marcus Duncan, the 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 director.
  • Amy Hill as Jocelyn Davis, the senior vice-president of publicity at Marty Wolf Pictures.
  • John Cho as Dusty Wong, the director of the fictional Big Fat Liar film.
  • Matthew Frauman as Lester Golub, a computer and special effects expert.
  • Sparkle as Grandma Pearl, Kaylee's senile grandmother.
  • Taran Killam as Bret Callaway, a skateboard punk who consistently bullies Jason and is tutored by Kaylee.
  • Alex Breckenridge as Janie Shepherd, Jason's older sister.
  • Michelle Griffin as Shandra Duncan, Marcus' wife.
  • Pat O'Brien as himself during a newscast.
  • 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 called "Little Mash" by his father.

Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond, and the film's director Shawn Levy appear as guests at a party following the premiere of Whitaker and Fowl, which they criticize. Jaleel White (uncredited) also appears as himself, starring as the lead in Whitaker and Fowl. White is annoyed that Wolf often refers to him as "Urkel".

Production[edit]

Filming[edit]

Big Fat Liar was filmed in the Spring of 2001.

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-14:38
14."Right Here Right Now"Fatboy Slim6:27
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. 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 on March 4, 2014.[3]

Reception[edit]

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).

Critical response[edit]

Big Fat Liar received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 44% 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."[4] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[6]

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
[7]
Young Artist Awards Best Family Feature Film – Comedy Big Fat Liar Nominated
[8]
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Amanda Bynes Nominated
[8]
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Amanda Bynes Won
[9]

Remake[edit]

A remake of and an unofficial sequel to Big Fat Liar began filming in August 2016.[10] The film titled Bigger Fatter Liar starred Ricky Garcia as Kevin Shepherd, Jodelle Ferland as Becca, and Barry Bostwick as Larry Wolf. The film was similar to Big Fat Liar except for the plot where the report is stolen by a video game executive to make into a video game to impress his boss. It was released on DVD in April 2017 and was both a critical and commercial failure.[11] It was given a Blu-ray release in July 2018.[12]

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 Blu-ray Release Date March 4, 2014, retrieved February 21, 2021
  4. ^ "Big Fat Liar". rottentomatoes.com. February 8, 2002.
  5. ^ "Big Fat Liar". Metacritic.
  6. ^ http://m.cinemascore.com[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "2002 Teen Choice Awards [page 2]". The Oklahoman. August 18, 2002. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "24th Annual Young Artist Awards". YoungArtistAwards.org. Archived from the original on December 4, 2016.
  9. ^ Gary Susman (April 14, 2003). "Sandler, Bynes, win big at Kids Choice Awards". Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "Legion Season 1, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Beaches & Big Fat Liar 2 Start Filming". What's Filming?. August 15, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  11. ^ "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.
  12. ^ "Amazon.com Bigger Fatter Liar [Blu-ray]". www.amazon.com. Retrieved February 27, 2021.

External links[edit]