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"BIG FAT LIAR"
(2002) (Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Minor Heavy Minor None
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Heavy None Mild None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor Minor Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A young habitual liar sets out to prove that an unscrupulous Hollywood producer stole his school paper and is going to turn it into a movie.
PLOT:
Jason Shepherd (FRANKIE MUNIZ) is a normal 14-year-old who has one major problem - he makes up lies all of the time. When he does so to his eighth grade teacher, Mrs. Caldwell (SANDRA OH), about not writing an essay, he's busted when his parents, Harry (MICHAEL BRYAN FRENCH) and Carol (CHRISTINE TUCCI), prove him wrong.

Given one last chance and just a few hours to write that essay else he be sent to summer school, Jason writes a story entitled "Big Fat Liar" and then races to get it to his teacher before the deadline. Unfortunately, he runs directly into a limo containing Hollywood producer Marty Wolf (PAUL GIAMATTI), who wants nothing to do with the boy or his plight. Yet, when Jason accidentally leaves his essay in Marty's limo, the unscrupulous producer happens to read it and then realizes he's found his next film.

Meanwhile, with no one believing Jason's story about his missing essay, he's forced to go to summer school. One night, while attending a movie with his best friend, Kaylee (AMANDA BYNES), he sees a preview for a movie based on his story. With both his and Kaylee's parents out of town, the two kids hop a plane from Michigan to Los Angeles to confront Marty about stealing his idea.

Lying to limo driver Frank Jackson (DONALD FAISON) to get a ride around Hollywood and then to Universal Studio's back lot, the two discover that they must sneak in to see the busy executive who's currently shooting a movie starring Jaleel White (JALEEL WHITE) with the aid of veteran stuntman, Vince (LEE MAJORS), and Marty's personal assistant, Monty Kirkham (AMANDA DETMER).

With pressure from the new studio president, Marcus Duncan (RUSSELL HORNSBY), to deliver a hit, Marty has no time for Jason and his allegations, and basically tells him he's out of luck. Accordingly, and from that point on, Jason and Kaylee do what they can to make Marty's life miserable and convince him to call Jason's dad and tell him the truth about stealing Jason's story.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
It's a good bet many younger kids will, especially if they're a fan of Muniz or someone else in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For some language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • FRANKIE MUNIZ plays a 14-year-old who's a habitual liar. When Marty steals his idea and plans to turn it into a movie, the boy sets out to prove that he's not a liar by persuading the producer (through various means) to call his dad and tell him the truth.
  • MICHAEL BRYAN FRENCH and CHRISTINE TUCCI play Jason's parents who are concerned and dismayed about all of his lying.
  • AMANDA BYNES plays Jason's best friend who accompanies him to Hollywood to get revenge on Marty. Accordingly, she participates in some of his lies designed to do that.
  • PAUL GIAMATTI plays a mean and unscrupulous Hollywood producer who steals Jason's idea for his next film, won't give him credit, and must then deal with the boy's measures to make him admit he stole it.
  • AMANDA DETMER plays his assistant who becomes increasingly irritated with his actions.
  • DONALD FAISON plays a limo driver and would-be actor who wants to get revenge on Marty.
  • SANDRA OH plays Jason's teacher who catches him in a lie and sends him to summer school.
  • LEE MAJORS plays a veteran stuntman who takes a great deal of verbal abuse from Marty.
  • RUSSELL HORNSBY plays the new studio president who's giving Marty once last chance to deliver a hit film.
  • JALEEL WHITE plays himself as an actor in Marty's latest film who must also put up with the producer's attitude and behavior.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this PG-rated comedy. Profanity consists of a few minor expletives, while various colorful phrases are also uttered. All sorts of pranks and other behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes.

    Several instances of violence - most played for comedy - are present, as are some brief comments related to crude humor. Meanwhile, very brief smoking and drinking also occurs. Should you still be concerned about the film and its appropriateness for anyone in your home, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Marty acts like he's going to pour water on some burning papers in a trashcan, but instead pours liquor of some sort that causes it to burst into more flames.
  • Various people have drinks at a post-premiere party, including Monty.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Jason tells Kaylee that some kid behind him was flicking his "boogers" on him (but we don't see the act).
  • We hear some person ask if Kaylee has a plunger since he "took a dookie/doogie" (or something like that) and clogged up the toilet.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Jason is a habitual liar who will make up any story to cover things he has and hasn't done. He also impersonates his father on the phone in an attempt to fool a teacher about why his paper wasn't done.
  • A bully knocks Jason from his skateboard and then steals it.
  • Jason keeps calling his teacher by her first name.
  • Kaylee occasionally helps Jason in his ruses (at first she doesn't want to help, but then does so with glee). She also helps arrange for a male student to act like her while spending time with her extremely nearsighted grandmother.
  • Marty is mean, disrespectful and/or condescending to everyone he encounters throughout the film and steals Jason's idea for his latest picture (and won't admit it and doesn't care). He also does the following: He repeatedly calls Jaleel "Urkel" (a character he played as a kid on TV); since a film director is Asian, Marty makes a "Confucius says" comment to him; he asks the overweight Senior V.P. of Publicity if she's sure she's not the Senior V.P. of Twinkies; and he repeatedly uses old age terms for Vince (dinosaur, father time, etc.).
  • Jason and Kaylee lie to Frank, a limo driver, at the airport about them being the ones he's supposed to pick up and drive.
  • Jason steals Marty's electronic organizer so that he can find out information about him to use in his retaliation against him (that involves various disruptive pranks).
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Although it's played for laughs and most everyone will recognize that it's just another part of the kids' ploy, a scene where an alarm goes off in a helicopter and Vince tells Marty that they must jump out with just one parachute might be a tiny bit suspenseful to some younger kids (but everyone is okay).
  • Jason runs and jumps off the roof a several story building (and we then see that he lands on a movie set airbag).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • None.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "You little demon," "Shut the heck up," "You loser," "What's up, dawg?" "What do I look like, a moron?" "My butt," "Must be a living hell right now," "Chicks" (women), "Up yours, blue boy," "Four eyes" (for a kid wearing glasses), "Jeez," "Old bag," what sounded like "Bite me," "Ricky retardo," "What the hell is happening?" "Losers," "Where in the hell are you taking me?" "Spaz," "Geek boy" and "You suck."
  • Jason is a habitual liar who will make up any story to cover things he has and hasn't done. He also impersonates his father on the phone in an attempt to fool a teacher about why his paper wasn't done.
  • Kaylee wears a midriff-baring outfit.
  • Jason sets out to get his revenge on Marty and convince him to admit to stealing his idea. Accordingly, he and Kaylee do the following: They steal his electronic organizer; they put blue dye in Marty's swimming pool and orange coloring in his shampoo so that he ends up with blue skin and orange hair; they put super glue on his cellphone's earpiece so that it sticks to his ear; and they rewire his car's wiring so that the horn honks when the brake is pressed, etc.
  • Jason tells Kaylee that some kid behind him was flicking his "boogers" on him (but we don't see the act).
  • Jason and Kaylee lie to Frank, a limo driver, at the airport about them being the ones he's supposed to pick up and drive.
  • Marty purposefully drops a match onto Jason's paper, then acts like he's trying to put out the resultant fire with his lit cigar, and then acts like he's going to pour water on it (now in a trashcan), but instead pours liquor of some sort that causes it to burst into more flames.
  • Frank repeatedly makes exaggerated car ignition starter sounds to stifle Jason and Kaylee's comments.
  • A bunch of kids jump and pile on Marty. Moments later, we see another kid jump from a 2nd story railing down onto him.
  • Marty jumps from Jalaal's moving car.
  • Marty makes a raspberry sound at Jason.
  • Jason runs and jumps off the roof a several story building (and we then see that he lands on a movie set airbag).
  • After Marty shows up at a party dressed as a clown, a boy's father says, "Show him the nutcracker," and the boy then runs at Marty and apparently kicks him in the crotch (but we don't see the direct impact).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A mild amount of comically suspenseful music plays in a few scenes.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 3 hells, 1 crap, 5 uses of "Oh my God" and 1 use of "Oh sweet God" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • In the background of a shot, we see Jason's mother getting a massage while lying face down on a table and we see her bare back.
  • We see Marty in his small bathing suit.
  • A miscellaneous woman shows some cleavage.
  • SMOKING
  • Marty asks Jason if he smokes cigars (he says he doesn't as he's only 14) and then lights one up for himself.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Jason's parents are disappointed with him regarding his lying.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Lying and the old "boy who cried" wolf story.
  • Marty's comments that the truth is overrated, but Jason later proves that it's not.
  • The various pranks that Jason and Kaylee pull on Marty.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A bully knocks Jason from his skateboard and then steals it.
  • Jason accidentally rides his bike into the side of Marty's limo.
  • Marty purposefully drops a match onto Jason's paper, then acts like he's trying to put out the resultant fire with his lit cigar, and then acts like he's going to pour water on it (now in a trashcan), but instead pours liquor of some sort that causes it to burst into more flames.
  • Marty, complete with blue skin and orange hair (from a prank that Jason and Kaylee pulled on him), arrives at a house thinking he's meeting with Duncan, but it's the wrong place and the kids there are expecting a clown. Accordingly, one runs and jumps on him (after saying "Let's hurt him"), knocking him to the ground. Other kids then run and pile on top of him. Moments later, we see another kid jump from a 2nd story railing down onto him.
  • Although we don't see the actual act, a man in a jacked-up truck with huge tires drives over and squashes Marty's small convertible (we see the crumpled remains). This is after a woman accidentally but slowly runs into the back of Marty's car, pushing his into the back of the man's truck.
  • Marty has some guards remove Jason and Kaylee from the premises, with one man carrying the girl over his shoulder.
  • Marty jumps from Jalaal's moving car and rolls several times on the side of the road, but is otherwise okay.
  • Jason crashes into some Christmas trees with a golf cart on a studio's back lot.
  • A special effects coordinator creates a flash flood on a movie set that washes Marty away.
  • Marty chases after Jason and then dives at him, tripping him.
  • After Marty shows up at a party dressed as a clown, a boy's father says, "Show him the nutcracker," and the boy then runs at Marty and apparently kicks him in the crotch (but we don't see the direct impact).



  • Reviewed January 26, 2002 / Posted February 8, 2002

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