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Big Fat Liar (2002)

PG  |   |  Adventure, Comedy, Family  |  8 February 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 27,756 users   Metascore: 36/100
Reviews: 95 user | 69 critic | 24 from Metacritic.com

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.



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Cast overview, first billed only:


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. Written by Anna <annachan@amazon.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Two friends are about to cut one Hollywood big shot down to size. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for some language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

8 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Lost and Found  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,554,015 (USA) (8 February 2002)


$201,334 (South Africa) (30 August 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Marty Wolf tells Jason that he'll tell his father he wrote Erin Brockovich and Saving Private Ryan. Much like the movie within the movie, both films were inspired by true stories. (Though the events of Saving Private Ryan are fictional, it was loosely inspired by a similar event during WW2.) See more »


Jason Shepard liberally applies a super glue-type product to the earpiece of Wolf's cell phone hands-free set. Any type of super glue product should dry pretty quickly after it's applied. Wolf finished swimming and took a shower as well as freaked out when he saw himself. By the time he stuck the ear piece into his ear, the glue should have at least been tacky if not dry. It would have been "easily" removable. See more »


Frank Jackson: [Frank has busted Kaylee and Jason] I got some R-rated dialogue, but I'm gonna keep it PG. I'm gonna keep it PG!
See more »


Features Access Hollywood (1996) See more »


I Wish
Written by Jim Wirt
Performed by Hairbrain
Courtesy of Wiltone records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Fun, if over-the-top, comic fantasy
30 November 2002 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

`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.

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