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Big Fat Liar
Big Fat Liar film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by
  • Brian Robbins
  • Mike Tollin
Screenplay by Dan Schneider
Story by
  • Dan Schneider
  • Brian Robbins
Starring
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Jonathan Brown
Editing by
  • Stuart Pappé
  • Kimberly Ray
Studio Tollin/Robbins Productions
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release date(s) February 8, 2002 (2002-02-08)
Running time 88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million
Money made $53 million

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

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". Riding a 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 reveals 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 when he reads it and decides to keep it for himself. Jason realizes his essay is missing and explains what happened, but his parents and Caldwell do not 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 a confession 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. This includes 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 he is mistaken for a clown and gets beaten up by the young guests; and tampering the controls to his car, causing it to malfunction. In addition, 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. Jason thanks Marty for teaching him the importance of truth-telling. A furious Marty tries to attack Jason, but the latter 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 begins a new job as a birthday clown. During a visit to a birthday party, he is kicked in his crotch by Darren, the son and birthday boy of the Masher.

Cast

  • 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 a 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".

Remake

A remake of Big Fat Liar began filming in August 2016. 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. It was given a Blu-ray release in July 2018.

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