Big Fat Liar

February 8th, 2002


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Still of Frankie Muniz in Big Fat LiarStill of Amanda Bynes in Big Fat LiarStill of Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz in Big Fat LiarStill of Frankie Muniz and Paul Giamatti in Big Fat LiarStill of Frankie Muniz and Paul Giamatti in Big Fat LiarStill of Paul Giamatti in Big Fat Liar

After a young boy's school essay erroneously finds its way into the hands of a Hollywood producer who turns the idea into a hit film, the boy travels to Los Angeles to claim his credit.

Release Year: 2002

Rating: 5.2/10 (14,006 voted)

Critic's Score: 36/100

Director: Shawn Levy

Stars: Frankie Muniz, Amanda Bynes, Paul Giamatti

A take on the classic tale 'The Boy Who Cried Wolf', this is the story of a 14-year-old boy named Jason Shephard who lies for the fun of it. He loses an important story assignment entitled 'Big Fat Liar' in movie producer Marty Wolf's limo, which Wolf then turns into a film. When Jason sees a movie preview of his story, he and his best friend Kaylee go to Los Angeles to make Wolf confess to using his story, to clear his name, and to get him out of having to attend summer school. The teen liar then has to match wits with Wolf, who also turns out to be a big liar.

Writers: Dan Schneider, Brian Robbins

Frankie Muniz - Jason Shepherd
Paul Giamatti - Marty Wolf
Amanda Bynes - Kaylee
Amanda Detmer - Monty Kirkham
Donald Faison - Frank Jackson
Sandra Oh - Mrs. Phyllis Caldwell
Russell Hornsby - Marcus Duncan
Michael Bryan French - Harry Shepherd
Christine Tucci - Carol Shepherd
Lee Majors - Vince
Sean O'Bryan - Leo
Amy Hill - Joscelyn Davis
John Cho - Dustin 'Dusty' Wong
Matthew Frauman - Lester Golub
Don Yesso - Rocco Malone

Taglines: Big Fat Liar is an extremely funny comedy, filed whit nonstop action and hilarious pranks.


Official Website: Universal Studios [United States] |

Release Date: 8 February 2002

Filming Locations: Culver City, California, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $15,000,000(estimated)

Opening Weekend: $11,554,015 (USA) (10 February 2002) (2531 Screens)

Gross: $47,811,275 (USA) (7 April 2002)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

The blue dye was tattoo ink that was sprayed in several layers on his body occasionally throughout the day to keep it topped up. According to Paul Giamatti (Marty Wolf), it was fairly easy to apply, but was a bit more difficult to get off, particularly his feet, for some reason. They stayed blue for several months.

Continuity: In the scene where Wolf realizes his car has been sabotaged (specifically where he finds that his brakes are connected to the car horn), his brakes clearly work as he stops his car (despite hearing the car horn when he hits the brakes) but in the scene immediately following we see he cannot stop the car, as it should have been in the earlier scene.

Marty Wolf: [speaking to Vince about the stunt] It was good, but I think I liked it better the first time I saw it... in 1942, you dinosaur!

User Review

Fun, if over-the-top, comic fantasy


`Big Fat Liar' offers a lively contemporary spin on the Boy Who Cried Wolf legend. Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old inveterate liar who spends most of his time devising elaborate yarns to keep himself out of trouble with his parents and teachers. One day, through an amazing fluke, he meets up with a nefarious movie producer named Marty Wolf who steals Shepherd's story idea – a composition he wrote for his English class entitled `Big Fat Liar' – and proceeds to make a movie out of it. When Jason's parents refuse to believe their son's outlandish tale, the youngster heads out to Hollywood to confront Wolf and make him verify his story. When Wolf refuses to do this, Jason concocts an elaborate scheme to make Wolf's life a living hell until he relents and helps make things right back home.

Kids will love `Big Fat Liar' for the simple reason that it works as pure adolescent fantasy wish-fulfillment on several levels. First, it shows a youngster getting the rare opportunity of turning a major studio backlot into his own personal playground (the film sometimes feels like a 90-minute commercial for Universal Studios' behind-the-scenes tour). Second, it feeds the desire we all have to watch the tables being turned on a certified rascal. And, third, like any good fantasy for children, it puts the kids in a position of power over the adult world. Jason and his pretty cohort, Kaylee, get to call the shots and pull the strings that eventually get the grownups to pay attention and listen to them.

`Big Fat Liar' might actually have been a better film had it resisted the tendency to overdo so much of its comedy. In fact, the best parts of the film occur near the beginning when Jason and his adventures stay connected to the real world. Once he gets to Hollywood, the film loses a bit of its edge. The cleverness and wit of the film's opening stretches give way to overwrought plot mechanics and over-the-top slapstick. The film has a great deal of undeniable energy, but subtlety can be a virtue as well and we miss that sense of sly fun that defines the film's ambiance early on.

Still, `Big Fat Liar' has more to recommend it than the average teen comedy. First of all, it stars the marvelous Frankie Muniz (`Malcolm in the Middle') who has energy and charm to spare in the role of Jason and who literally keeps the film bouncing along even when the comic setups don't always pay off as well as they should. Muniz is one child actor I will miss when he grows too old to still play these parts. Amanda Byrnes is equally likable as Jason's conspiratorial companion, Kaylee. And even though Paul Giamatti seems to be doing a Jim Carrey impersonation through large sections of the film, this fine comic actor hits heights of magnificent manic madness as the put-upon, hissable villain of the piece. The movie also has a fun time ribbing many of the elements of Hollywood culture – from the unemployed `actors' working as chauffeurs to the has-beens looking for that big career turnabout to the insipid material that often serves as the basis for big studio productions (a movie about a cop teamed up with a crime-fighting chicken is the example here).

`Big Fat Liar' provides mixed blessings for the sophisticated adult audience, but youngsters should enjoy it all.