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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, Amanda Bynes, Amanda Detmer, Donald Faison, Lee Majors, Russell Hornsby, and Kenan Thompson.

Big Fat Liar
Big Fat Liar film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay byDan Schneider
Story by
  • Dan Schneider
  • Brian Robbins
Music byChristophe Beck
CinematographyJonathan Brown
Edited by
  • Stuart Pappé
  • Kimberly Ray
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • February 8, 2002 (2002-02-08)
Running time
88 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$15 million[1]
Box office$53 million[1]

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. The film is an allusion to the Aesop's Fable, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, with Jason Shepherd being analogous to the shepherd boy in the story and Marty Wolf, analogous to the wolf. It was released in the United States on February 8, 2002.



Jason Shepherd is a 14-year-old chronic liar who is constantly deceiving and misleading his way out of trouble. He tries to get out of his creative writing essay by making up a lie, but eventually gets caught by his English teacher, Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, who alerts his parents. He is given three hours to submit his essay. Otherwise, he will fail English and go to summer school. Jason writes a story titled "Big Fat Liar", based on the lies he has told throughout his life. On his way to turn it in, he is struck by the limousine of movie producer Marty Wolf, head of Marty Wolf Pictures, who gives him a ride. Along the way, Marty reveals that he also tells lies and that, "The truth is overrated." In a rush, Jason accidentally forgets his essay in the limo upon arriving. Marty initially tries to return it, but is inspired by the story when he reads it and decides to keep it for himself.

Jason realizes his essay is missing and explains what happened, but his parents and Caldwell do not believe him, and he is sent to summer school to repeat English. Later, he and his best friend Kaylee see a preview for a film produced by Marty Wolf Pictures titled Big Fat Liar, and recognize that it had been plagiarized from Jason's essay.

Determined to convince his parents he was being truthful after having lost their trust, Jason and Kaylee fly to Los Angeles to confront Marty while their parents are out of town. Upon arrival, they trick limo driver and struggling actor Frank Jackson into giving them a ride to the Universal Pictures studio lot, where Marty's company is headquartered. Jason sneaks into his office, hoping to convince him to tell his parents what really happened, but Marty burns the essay and has Jason and Kaylee thrown out. Angered, the two decide to inconvenience him until he confesses to Jason's dad, with Frank joining them because of his own troubled history with Marty. After gathering information about Marty's cruel and abusive treatment of his employees, they begin to sabotage him through various pranks, such as dyeing his skin blue and hair orange, super gluing his headset to his ear, sending him to a child's birthday party where he is mistaken for the hired clown and beaten up by the birthdaygoers, and tampering the controls to his car. Marty accidently rear ends a monster truck driver which leads to argument between the two. The monster truck driver, thinking Marty purposely hit him, runs over Marty's car and crushes it, which results in Marty’s car being towed. Marty is less than amused when the tow truck driver jokes about his blue skin.

These pranks cause Marty to miss his appointment with his boss, Universal president Marcus Duncan. After Marty's previous film, the action comedy Whitaker and Fowl, is critically panned and proves to be a box office failure, Marcus loses confidence in him and threatens to pull the plug on Big Fat Liar. Jason approaches Marty and agrees to help in exchange for his confession. Guided by Jason, Marty makes a successful presentation which gets Big Fat Liar green-lit, but Marcus warns Marty any mistakes will make Universal pull funding and end his career. Marty betrays Jason again and calls security to arrest him and Kaylee. Marty's assistant Monty Kirkham, having grown tired of his repeated verbal abuse, decides to help Jason and Kaylee expose him. They rally all of his employees and devise a plan to expose him for good, while Jason has his parents fly to Los Angeles.

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 toy, Mr. Funnybones. After a chase across the studio, Marty catches Jason and retrieves his toy. He taunts Jason and tells him he will never reveal the truth to anyone, while admitting that he stole Jason's paper and turned it into Big Fat Liar. The entire conversation is revealed to have been caught on camera and is witnessed by many people, including Jason's parents and the news media. Disgusted by his actions, Marcus states to Marty that it's over, and Jason then thanks Marty for teaching him the importance of truth-telling. Marty furiously attempts to get revenge on Jason, but he escapes and reunites with his parents — regaining their trust in the process.

Universal Studios produces Big Fat Liar (without Marty's involvement), utilizing the talents and skills of all the people whom Marty had abused over the years. Frank Jackson stars as the film's lead character, and the film is released in theaters to critical and box office success; Jason receives credit for writing the original story, as his name is seen during the closing credits, making his parents and Ms. Caldwell proud of him.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, Marty Wolf Pictures is shut down for good, and Marty begins his new job as a birthday clown, where he sustains grievous bodily harm from the birthday boy — the son of the monster truck driver Marty had insulted earlier in the film.


  • Frankie Muniz as Jason Shepherd, a 14-year-old compulsive liar and slacker who - despite his layabout personality - is actually quite intelligent.
  • Paul Giamatti as Marty Wolf, an arrogant Hollywood producer and a pathological liar who is also the founder of the fictional Marty Wolf Pictures film studio: in contrast to Jason, though, Marty does not care how his lies affect other people.
  • Amanda Bynes as Kaylee, Jason's best friend.
  • Donald Faison as Frank Jackson, a limo driver and struggling actor who helps Jason and Kaylee in their mission to defeat Marty.
  • Russell Hornsby as Marcus Duncan, Marty's boss and president of Universal Pictures.
  • Amanda Detmer as Monty Kirkham, Marty's long suffering assistant.
  • Michael Bryan French as Harry Shepherd, Jason's father.
  • Christine Tucci as Carol Shepherd, Jason's mother.
  • Alex Breckenridge as Janie Shepherd, Jason's irresponsible older sister.
  • Sandra Oh as Ms. Phyllis Caldwell, Jason's English teacher.
  • Rebecca Corry as Astrid Barker, the dog-loving receptionist at the Wolf Pictures studio.
  • Jaleel White as himself, he was cast in Marty Wolf's Whitaker and Fowl and was often called Urkel by him.
  • Lee Majors as Vince, an aging, but nevertheless qualified, stunt director.
  • Sean O'Bryan as Leo
  • Amy Hill as Jocelyn Davis, a worker at Marty Wolf Pictures.
  • John Cho as Dusty Wong, the director.
  • Taran Killam as Bret Callaway, a skateboard punk who consistently bullies Jason and also has a crush on Kaylee.
  • Jake Minor as Aaron
  • Kyle Swann as Brett, a friend of Bret
  • Sparkle (born Rachel Glusman) as Grandma Pearl, Kaylee's senile grandmother.
  • Ted Rooney as Boring Teacher
  • Chris Ott as Shandra Duncan, Marcus’s wife.
  • Brian Turk as The Masher, a wrestler and monster truck driver who Marty crosses when he is rear-ended into his monster truck.
  • John Gatins as George, a tow truck driver.
  • Don Yesso as Rocko Malone, Marty's security boss.
  • Pat O'Brien as himself

Kenan Thompson, Dustin Diamond, Shawn Levy, Corinne Reilly, and Bart Myer appear as party guests at a party following the premiere of Whitaker and Fowl where they criticize it in their party interviews.



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.

The exotic Intermec 6651 Handheld PC appears as the computer used by one of Marty's disgruntled employees to help Jason by releasing a stream of water into Marty's path.[2]


1."Come on Come on"Smash Mouth2:33
2."Conant Gardens"Slum Village3:03
3."Me Myself and I"Jive Jones3:25
4."I Wish"Hairbrain3:11
5."Eye of the Tiger"Survivor4:29
6."Hungry Like the Wolf"Duran Duran3:41
7."Blue (Da Ba Dee)"Eiffel 654:40
8."Diablo"Triple Seven 
9."Disco Inferno"The Trammps10:54
10."Party Time"The Grand Skeem3:32
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 Men3:51


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 officeEdit

The film grossed $48.4 million in the U.S. and Canada and $4.6 million in other countries 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 responseEdit

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."[3] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 36 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

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".

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result Refs
2002 Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Chemistry Amanda Bynes and Frankie Muniz Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Family Feature Film – Comedy Big Fat Liar Nominated
Best Performance in a Feature Film – Leading Young Actress Amanda Bynes Nominated
2003 Kids' Choice Awards Favorite Movie Actress Amanda Bynes Won


A sequel to Big Fat Liar began filming in August 2016.[9] The film titled Bigger Fatter Liar starred Ricky Garcia as Kevin Shepherd, Jodelle Ferland as Becca, and Barry Bostwick as Larry Wolf. It was released on DVD in April 2017.[10] On March 31st 2019 the movie-centric podcast Cult Popture revealed that a third film was in the works via a correspondence with the director of "Bigger Fatter Liar".[11]


  1. ^ a b c "Big Fat Liar (2002)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 3, 2016.
  2. ^ "Starring the Computer - Intermec 6651".
  3. ^ "Big Fat Liar". February 8, 2002.
  4. ^ "Big Fat Liar". Metacritic.
  5. ^[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "2002 Teen Choice Awards [page 2]". The Oklahoman. August 18, 2002. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  7. ^ a b "24th Annual Young Artist Awards". Archived from the original on December 4, 2016.
  8. ^ Gary Susman (April 14, 2003). "Sandler, Bynes, win big at Kids Choice Awards". Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  9. ^ "Legion Season 1, Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, Beaches & Big Fat Liar 2 Start Filming". What's Filming?. August 15, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
  10. ^ "From Universal Pictures Home Entertainment: Ricky Garcia And Barry Bostwick Go Head To Head In The All-New Side-Splitting Comedy Bigger Fatter Liar" (Press release). Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. February 8, 2017. Archived from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved February 9, 2017 – via KUSI.
  11. ^ ""Big Fat Liar" & "Bigger Fatter Liar" (ft. Phoebe from WatchMojo) - Film Franchise Fortnights". March 31, 2019. Retrieved April 6, 2019 – via Soundcloud.

External linksEdit