Big Fat Liar

Big Fat Liar

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay by Dan Schneider
Story by
  • Dan Schneider
  • Brian Robbins
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Jonathan Brown
Edited by
  • Stuart Pappé
  • Kimberly Ray
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates
  • February 8, 2002 (2002-02-08)
Running time
88 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15 million[1]
Box office $53 million[1]

Big Fat Liar is a 2002 American teen comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, written by Dan Schneider and Brian Robbins, and starring Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti and Amanda Bynes, with Amanda Detmer, Donald Faison and Lee Majors.

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. It was released in the United States on February 8, 2002.


Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old chronic liar living in the town of Greenbury, Michigan who is constantly deceiving and misleading his way out of trouble. He tries to get out of writing his 1000 word essay by making up a lie, but he gets caught by his English teacher, Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, who alerts his parents, Harry and Carol Shepherd. He is given three hours to submit his essay, otherwise he will fail English and go to summer school. In a rush to turn it in, he accidentally forgets it in the limousine of Hollywood producer Marty Wolf, who gives him a ride to the community college to turn it in after he is hit by the limousine. Marty initially attempts to give it back to him, but when he sees that it is excellent, it inspires him, and he decides to keep it for himself.

Jason realizes his essay is missing and tries to explain what happened when he met Marty, but neither his parents or Ms. Caldwell believe him, and he is sent to summer school. Later, after a disgusting first day there, he and his best friend, Kaylee, go to see a film, and upon watching the previews, they realize that Marty has plagiarized his essay and is turning it into a film. They fly to Los Angeles to confront him, as Jason is determined to convince his parents that he truly wrote his essay. Upon their arrival, they trick the limo driver and struggling actor Frank Jackson into giving them a ride to Marty's studio, where Jason creates a distraction, with help from Kaylee, that tricks its receptionist, Astrid Barker, into letting him speak with Marty in his office. Jason sneaks into there to convince him to call his father and tell him that he stole the essay, but instead he "accidentally" burns it and removes him and Kaylee from his office. Angered, they plan to inconvenience him until he admits to having stolen it. Frank, having discovered their true identities, joins them in their plan, as he has had a troubled history with Marty. After gathering information about his cruel and abusive treatment of his employees, they sabotage him by going as far as pouring blue dye in his pool and orange food coloring in his shampoo, putting super glue on his headset, sending him to a child's birthday party where he is mistaken for the hired clown and beaten up by the young guests, and modifying the controls to his car. Their tampering with his car causes numerous controls to perform the incorrect function, such as the brake pedal sounding the horn and the radio playing "Blue (Da Ba Dee)" as a way of mocking his blue skin. Struggling to control his car, he stops just behind a monster truck, but is later rear ended by an old lady, whom he had insulted earlier. He accidentally crashes into the monster truck, causing its driver, a wrestler known as "The Masher", to destroy his car in anger.

These pranks cause Marty to miss his appointment with his boss and the president of Universal Pictures, Marcus Duncan. After another film produced by Marty, Whitaker and Fowl, proves to be a critical and commercial failure, Duncan loses confidence in him and threatens to pull production for Big Fat Liar. Jason approaches Marty and agrees to help him in exchange for his confession to having stolen the story. Guided by Jason, he makes a successful presentation which convinces Duncan's wife, Shandra (Chris Ott), to green-light Big Fat Liar, but Duncan warns Marty that any mistakes will cause Universal to pull funding for it and end his career. Marty, however, betrays Jason again and kicks him and Kaylee out from their hiding place in a warehouse of Universal Studios. His assistant, Monty Kirkham, having grown tired of being bossed around and abused by him, decides to help Jason and Kaylee to expose him. They rally all of his employees and devise a plan to stop him once and for all.

The next morning, as Marty heads to the studio to begin shooting, many of his employees cause him to be late through multiple mishaps. As Marty finally arrives at the studio, he witnesses Jason kidnapping his stuffed monkey, Mr. Funny Bones. After a chase across the studio, he childishly and prematurely celebrates his supposed victory, mocking Jason and telling him that he will never tell the truth, as well as admitting that he stole Jason's story, thinking that he will still get away with it. However, the altercation is then revealed to be caught on twelve different cameras and is witnessed by many people including his employees, the news media, Jason's parents, and Duncan. Disgusted that Marty would steal a story from a young boy, Duncan immediately fires him due to his acts of plagiarism and dishonesty. Jason thanks Marty for teaching him the importance of telling the truth. After escaping from him and reuniting with his parents, Jason finally re-establishes his trust with them.

Universal later reproduces Big Fat Liar, utilizing the talents and skills of all those whom Marty had abused, and it is released in theaters, with Jason being credited during the closing credits for having written the original story. Meanwhile, Marty, having been stripped of his career, declares bankruptcy and begins his new job as a birthday clown. Unfortunately, he is recognized by The Masher, who orders his son, Darren, the birthday boy, to show Marty his "nutcracker" manoeuvre. Marty screams in horror as Darren charges at him and kicks his crotch, causing him to groan in pain.




The film was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood, the Flash Flood set, and Los Angeles International Airport, as well as in Glendale, Monrovia, Pasadena, and Whittier, California.


No. TitleWriter(s) Length
1. "Come on Come on"  Smash Mouth 2:33
2. "Conant Gardens"  Slum Village 3:03
3. "Me Myself and I"  Jive Jones  
4. "I Wish"  Hairbrain 3:11
5. "Eye of the Tiger"  Survivor 4:29
6. "Hungry Like the Wolf"  Duran Duran 3:41
7. "Blue (Da Ba Dee)"  Eiffel 65 4:40
8. "Diablo"  Triple Seven  
9. "Disco Inferno"  The Trammps 10:54
10. "Party Time"  The Grand Skeem 3:32
11. "Backlash"  The Grand Skeem  
12. "Where ya at"  The Grand Skeem  
13. "Mind Blow"  Zion-1  
14. "Right Here Right Now"  Fatboy Slim  
15. "Move It Like This"  Baha Men 3:51


The film was released in cinemas on February 8, 2002 by Universal Pictures and was released on VHS and DVD on September 24, 2002 by Universal Studios Home Entertainment.


Box office

The film grossed $48.4 million in North America and $4.6 million in other territories for a worldwide total of $53 million, against a budget of $15 million.[1]

The film grossed $11.6 million in its opening weekend, finishing in second at the box office behind Collateral Damage ($15.1 million).

Critical response

Amanda Bynes' performance was praised by critics.

Big Fat Liar received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 42% based on 92 reviews with an average rating of 4.9/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Though there's nothing that offensive about Big Fat Liar, it is filled with Hollywood cliches and cartoonish slapstick, making it strictly for kids."[2] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[3] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[4]

Some critics praised the film as energetic and witty; others called it dull and formulaic. On the positive side, Ebert and Roeper gave it "Two Thumbs Up". Critic David Palmer gave it a 7/10, stating that it is a fun one for people who love the behind the scenes of making movies, and "not awful considering it's a kids film".


Award Category Nominee Result
Blimp Award, Teen Choice Award and Young Artist Award Favorite Movie Actress, Film – Choice Chemistry, Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress and Best Family Feature Film – Comedy Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz Won and Nominated


A sequel, which began filming in August 2016, is slated for release in early 2017. The film will star Ricky Garcia as Kevin Shepherd.[5]


External links

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