|Big Fat Liar|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Shawn Levy|
|Screenplay by||Dan Schneider|
|Music by||Christophe Beck|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Box office||$53 million|
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.
Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old pathological liar who tries to avoid a creative writing essay by lying. 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, however, he is struck by the limousine of film producer Marty Wolf, in town filming the 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's prodiction company 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's office. There, Jason sneaks inside to convince Marty to tell his parents the truth, but Marty burns the essay and has Jason and Kaylee thrown out.
The duo decide to inconvenience Marty until he confesses, joined by Frank due to his own troubled history with the producer. 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 the 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 the kids. 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 a beloved stuffed monkey toy. Retrieving the 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 declares bankruptcy and his production company is closed. He begins his new job as a birthday clown; his first client'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.
Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond, the film's director 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.
|1.||"Come on Come on"||Smash Mouth||2:33|
|2.||"Conant Gardens"||Slum Village||3:03|
|3.||"Me Myself and I"||Jive Jones||3:25|
|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|
|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|
|14.||"Right Here Right Now"||Fatboy Slim|
|15.||"Move It Like This"||Baha Men||3:51|
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.
The film grossed $11.6 million in its opening weekend, finishing in second at the box office behind Collateral Damage ($15.1 million).
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." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A-" on an A+ to F scale.
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".
|2002||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Chemistry||Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz||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|
A sequel of Big Fat Liar began filming in August 2016. The film titled Bigger Fatter Liar starred Ricky Garcia as Kevin Shephard, Jodelle Ferland as Becca, and Barry Bostwick as Larry Wolf. It was released on DVD in April 2017 and was a commercial failure. 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".