Big Fat Liar (2002)
After one of his class papers is stolen and turned into a movie, a young student and his best friend exact a hilarious, slapstick revenge on the Hollywood hot shot who has taken credit!
At first rather annoying in its heavy emphasis on reenactments, this movie ultimately proves fascinating, simply because the complicated, highly dramatic tale it tells still almost defies belief.
It's a good bad... and worth a popcorn matinée. While it's easy to lament what could have been...
By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.
Actress is magnificent and exudes a hypnotic screen presence in this affecting drama.
Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a 14 year old with a terrific imagination. But, alas, he uses it to make up lies when it is convenient to him. One day, late to school, his English teacher (Sandra Oh) asks him before he sets down to read his paper. Its not done. Therefore, Jase launches into a song and dance about how his father choked on a meatball and the whole family spent the evening in the ER. Undaunted, teach calls his dad but a friend covers for Jason. Nevertheless, the truth comes out. That afternoon, Jason's parents, the teacher and Jase all sit down to discuss the consequences. The ONLY way to avoid an "F" is for Jason to write the paper in three hours and hand it in to the teacher's moonlighting job in adult education. Since there is no other choice Jason does it. Alas, his bike breaks down and he pleads with a limo driver to take him to the school. In the back seat, Hollywood producer Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti) makes it clear this a great favor for him to bestow. Mr. Wolf is overseeing the final scenes of a cop with a sidekick chicken movie. It's lame. But, ho ho, Jsaon leaves his paper, a Big Fat Liar, in the limo and Wolf reads it. Here is the idea for his next movie! The teacher and his parents refuse to believe he wrote it but, give him a couple of days. Next, Jason's parents take a long needed vacation, Jason's older sister rides off with her boyfriend (no babysitting for her) and Jason convinces his friend, Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) to trek with him to California so they can get his paper back! Nasty man that he is, Mr. Wolf says no, no, no. But, he has not counted on the determination and the imagination of Jason. From blue dye in the swimming pool to sabotage on the movie set, Jason MUST have Wolf call his parents and tell him how he got the film idea. In a test of wills, who wins, a hotshot producer or a 14 year old whiz? This very enjoyable, funny movie was made before Giamatti became a star in American Splendor and Sideways. Muniz and Bynes, however, were at their apex. All three are terrific. Amanda Detmer, Donald Faison, Oh, and the rest are great as well. The sets are wonderfully colorful and interesting; especially great is a scene which unfolds on different sets of the movie studio. A chase channels through the Wild West to the North Pole and back again. Costumes, script and direction are likewise way above the norm. Yes, the story has its implausibility but that doesn't matter in the least. Want some Big Fat Fun tonight or very soon? Get your hands on this fine family flick.
Big Fat Liar (2002): Dir: Shawn Levy / Cast: Frankie Muniz, Amanda Bynes, Paul Giamatti, Jaleel White, Donald Faison: Big fat stupid comedy that looks phony right down to its production values. Title indicates one factor gaining higher level of denial. Frankie Muniz may have to attend summer school if a particular report isn't passed in. It ends up in the hands of greedy filmmaker Marty Wolf who makes a film out of its contents. To prove his innocence Muniz and Amanda Bynes go to Hollywood to obtain the report and sabotage Wolf's career. Mean spirited comedy where the villain's only friend is a stuffed monkey without indication as to why. Screenwriter never examines possible hurts of Wolf but stages him for juvenile sight jokes. Directed by Shawn Levy with Paul Giamatti as the scheming Wolf in a variation of his role in Private Parts where he was much more rounded. Muniz and Bynes become virtually unlikable. Jaleel White spoofs his sitcom role in what appears to make him a good sport but ultimately his leaving his famed Family Matters role left him with bigger matters and this film doesn't solve those. Donald Faison plays a limo driver and struggling actor and after this film he will likely be struggling much more. Honesty theme isn't the focus particularly when one examines the dreadful marketing. This leaves the biggest lie told by the ads. Score: 2 / 10
I've been making something of a mental checklist to revisit movies from my childhood that I was supposed to see when I was roughly seven or so but evaded in favor of more obscure pictures that I really wasn't supposed to watch at that age. Such films are The Lizzie McGuire Movie, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen, the two Agent Cody Banks films, and many others that strike a nostalgia chord with me solely because they came out right around the time I was immersing myself in film.Shawn Levy's Big Fat Liar is a film I watched as a young child in pieces. I'd watch and digest maybe twenty minutes at a time - over the course of several months - before I could say I saw the entire film. Sitting through it today, in its eighty-seven entirety, it is not the immature affair I expected it to be. In fact, it's kind of spirited and lively, to the point where I find myself replaying sequences in my head, ones I didn't laugh at before, and now silently giggle at their geniality and the silliness they employ.One particular scene comes later in the film, where Paul Giamatti's character has already been manipulated unconditionally by Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes to the point where he is ready to call the day quits entirely. He gets in his beautiful, expensive car, only to discover all of his gadgets and functions have been rewired. The brake is the horn, the turn signal is the radio, etc. While Giamatti is pressing random buttons and twisting/turning random gizmos in his car, hoping in vein something works, his radio blasts the infectious song "I'm Blue" by Eiffel 65 and angers other drivers around him. The scene is so goofy and unexpected that the only rational response is to laugh and embrace the current situation.I'll catch you up; Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a fourteen year old boy, known by his family and teacher as a pathological liar who enjoys dreaming up ways to get himself out of trouble. One day, he doesn't write his English paper on time, so is given a time extension, which he utilizes efficiently to write a semi-autobiographical story called "Big Fat Liar." He races to school on his sister's bright pink bike (the bullies stole his skateboard), and crashes into the limousine of Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti), a cocky, wealthy movie producer. He reluctantly agrees to give Jason a ride, but Jason finds, after spilling the contents of his backpack in Wolf's limo, he left the essay in the company of Wolf.Wolf, currently in a career slump with failure after failure, reads "Big Fat Liar," loves it, and decides it deserves a film-counterpart on the big screen. Without Jason's approval or consent, Wolf hurries the film into production, leaving Jason understandably upset and cheated. He decides, in an act of desperation, him and his close friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) will pack up their things and head out to California to get Wolf to admit to his parents that he stole the idea from him in an attempt to earn back his parents trust.In summation, Jason and Kaylee pretty much make Wolf's life a living hell, first by putting blue dye in his pool water and orange dye in his shampoo, giving him the appearance of a ginger-Smurf. They continue to manipulate him with torturous actions, like the one I wrote about above, hoping Wolf will crack and admit his wrongdoing. They team up with other actors-turned-employees for the arrogant producer, who relish the thought of exacting revenge on him for his terrible treatment of coworkers.This kind of plot is the perfect definition of "serviceable." It doesn't look to offend, provides maybe a good, healthy laugh or too, and then allows you to go about your day with almost nothing to further contemplate or feast on. There's good and bad to that; in a world where the bar for children's films have been raised by the likes of Pixar, something like Big Fat Liar isn't necessary in their cinematic diet. The film was written by Dan Schneider, who has been the driving force behind nearly every teen-sitcom on Nickelodeon. Big Fat Liar plays almost identically to an episode of, say, Drake and Josh. Some jokes are funny, some fall flat, and you're left with an average episode that wasn't a burden but not an explosive winner.Muniz and Bynes, however, have great chemistry, and there are unfortunately a depressing shortage of their gracious performances today, which is kind of a shame. The two had careers that seemed to end before they started, especially Muniz, who seemed to be disposed-of by the public after Malcolm in the Middle came to a close and Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London was released. The real performance to watch here, on the other hand, is Giamatti's, who is extremely funny and off-the-wall as a venomous movie producer, who may in fact just be nicer than real Hollywood producers. His transcend into lunacy and madness, especially in the third act, is wonderful and is played off effectively thanks to great comic-timing and spirit on his part.Big Fat Liar is not a film I'd recommend to adults. No one over ten will express much interest in seeing the film, but for the brave souls who do, for nostalgic reasons or curiosity reasons, the film is at least smart enough to show you a good, marginally-creative time. There's a pleasantly kind soul to its roots and an entertaining series of events that unfold, even if you're expecting them.Starring: Frankie Muniz, Amanda Bynes, Paul Giamatti. Directed by: Shawn Levy.
Big Fat Liar is an absurd yet entertaining movie from the infamous writer Dan Schneider. The movie is a modern day, pop-culture run version of The Boy who Cried Wolf. (The kid's name is Shepard, the villain's name is Wolf). Jason Shepard does nothing but lie and when he lies at his teacher about doing his homework, he must write an essay about lying which is stolen by rude Hollywood big shot Marty Wolf. Several people plan a revenge scheme against him to prove that the kid was in fact telling the truth about writing his essay (yeah, that includes lying). The story and acting were over the top, but a lot of jokes in this movie were funny. ***/*****