Big Fat Liar

This 2002 teen comedy, directed by Shawn Levy (JUST MARRIED, THE PINK PANTHER, NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM, DATE NIGHT) stars Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes.

The plot centers on Jason Shepherd (played by Frankie Muniz), a 14-year old student who’s an incorrigible liar and con artist. When he fails to complete his creative writing essay, he’s given one chance to make it up, so Jason writes a story called Big Fat Liar. On his way to the school he collides with the limousine of a smarmy, sleazy Hollywood producer (played by Paul Giamatti). Leaving his manuscript behind accidentally, Jason is forced to undergo summer school. It then that Jason and his friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) discover that the Hollywood producer plagiarized Jason’s essay, turning it into a film entitled Big Fat Liar. Jason and Kaylee then plot their systematic revenge against the producer. They travel to Hollywood. Cue ensuing hijinks.

This film serves as Frankie Muniz’ transition from television (MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE) to film, and taking the safe route, this film is rated PG to capture the largest possible demographic. It’s inoffensive fun for the whole family. Kids will love this film ‘cuz it’s pure kid fantasy wish-fulfillment. I didn’t want to watch it at first, but after a little convincing I watched it with my kids. I think they got it, really related. I tried to stick it out but I think I fell asleep in the first twenty minutes or so. Firstly, we’ve got a teen who gets the rare opportunity to turn a major studio backlot into his personal playground. Secondly, said youngster is given an opportunity to navigate in an adult world filled with one upmanship. Lastly, we get to see a sleazebucket get his just desserts. What’s not to love? The guy reminds me of someone who thinks people are impressed by superficial “things” like the numerous silver rings he flashes, or the designer shoes he’s wearing. And the choices he makes even among these symbols of prosperity are bad – instead of classy sterling silver rings like you would find in a legit high end jewelry shop, he chooses flash over class – has the biggest, flashiest rings that make the wrong statement but he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get that the sterling silver rings are not the key if they are grotesquely obvious. Elegant jewelry items, especially something like exquisite silver rings that signal class make a subtle statement, not a loud noise.

All in all one of my favorites. I am sure that if you have seen it, you know why. It really is very entertaining… I know, it was meant to be for a bit younger of an audience but the truth is that parents have to take the kids out to the movies or even watch them at home when they come out on video. It makes a lot of sense for the people writing these things to put a few things in there for the purpose of entertaining the parent. They even do this in movies designed for young children. Of course they make the joke so that it will fly right over the kids head but we all catch it real easy as adults. Let’s face it, that jokes not there so the kid can watch the movie again later in life and get it… It’s there because the writers know the parents have to enjoy the movie at least a bit too…

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