Big Fat Liar


Frankie Muniz as Jason Shepherd
Paul Giamatti as Marty Wolf
Amanda Bynes as Kaylee
Amanda Detmer as Monty- The Producer’s assistant
Lindsay Tryctha as Jenny Roberts
Donald Adeosun Faison
Josh Rusin as Sam ‘Dark’ Beacon
Lee Majors as Vince

Big Fat Liar is a jab at Hollywood with TV’s Frankie Muniz.

Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a fourteen-year-old liar. He lies to his parents, teachers, and friends and his lies finally catch up with him. He is forced to go to summer school because a Hollywood producer, Marty Wolff (Paul Giamatti), accidentally steals his paper, entitled Big Fat Liar.

The movie jumps to Shepard at summer school and seeing movies with his friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes). At the movies, he sees a trailer for a new flick from producer Marty Wolff called Big Fat Liar. Shepherd is so angry he decides to fly down to LA, with Kaylee, to confront the producer that stole his ideas.

He arrives at Universal Studios (coincidence that Universal studios produced the film?) and confronts the Wolffman, as he calls himself. Jason asks Marty to call his father and tell him that he wasn’t lying about writing Big Fat Liar. Marty responds by lighting Jason’s paper on fire and calling security on him. Jason and Kaylee respond in the only way fourteen-year-olds know how; getting even in elaborate ways that would require mass amounts of money and luck.

Big Fat Liar is rated PG for some language.

What Worked:
Muniz is a comical kid. He livens up the dull script and has a great screen presence. Muniz plays off Giamatti and Bynes well and he really does carry the movie. Even though he is a child star, I think when he grows up, he just might have a nice career in front of him. Speaking of child stars, Jaleel White of Family Matters fame (he played Steve Urkel for nine years) has a great role spoofing himself and his character delivers the funniest lines in the flick. Paul Giamatti is a great actor and he can take any role and make it his own (even if his lines are, well…bad). His physical comedy is at an all-time high and he seems to be having fun playing the angry producer. Giamatti’s rendition of “Hungry Like the Wolf” is laugh out loud. Amanda Bynes (of Nickelodeon fame) does a fine job as the female lead and seems to know what she is doing. The supporting cast (Amanda Detmer, Donald Faison, and Lee Majors (why?)) all pick up their roles in getting revenge on the Wolffman.

The script is full of jabs at the Hollywood industry and most of the jokes tend to give off a few chuckles from the older folks in the audience.

What Didn’t Work:
The acting is good, but the script is where the problems lie in the film. Frankie Muniz sounds funnier when the writers from Malcom in the Middle are giving him things to say. The movie within the movie is supposedly hugely anticipated and it has huge buzz around Access Hollywood. The movie within the movie could be named Honey, I Blew Up the Lying Baby (which in a word: bad). There are product placements abound, from Starbucks to Universal Studios. The whole movie was shot at the Universal Studios backlot and it shows. Jason and Kaylee sleep in the prop department (featuring props from Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and the forthcoming re-release of E.T.) and it gets old fast.

Also, the movie is aimed to kids of all ages, but it seems like grades 6-8 are the only ones that will really like the film. The jokes either are too mature for younger kids and too childish for teens. There are more adults than teens in the film, which adds to the strangeness of the target audience. Most kids 5th grade and under most likely won’t sit still through the movie (thankfully, its an hour and thirty minutes long).

The movie is boring and the revenge isn’t very satisfying. There are too many trials and tribulations for the two teens to get to the end, where the revenge is taken out in phases (they actually appear on the screen).

I would only suggest Big Fat Liar to teens 6-8 grades or parents with kids.