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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 constantly deceives his way out of trouble. He tries to avoid doing 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 to school. 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. Later, he and his friend Kaylee see a preview for a film 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 Marty's company. 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 (at least to Jason’s dad), with Frank joining them due to his own troubled history with Marty. After Frank tells them about Marty's cruel and abusive treatment of his employees, the three begin to sabotage him through various pranks, such as dying his skin blue and hair orange, super gluing his headset to his ear, tricking him into going to a child’s birthday where he is mistaken for the hired birthday clown and gets beaten by the birthday goers, and tampering the controls to his car, which causes his car to malfunction. Marty's situation takes a turn for the worst when his car is rear-ended by an elderly woman, knocking his vehicle forward into a monster truck in front of him. This leads to an argument between the monster truck driver and Marty, who thinks Marty purposely hit him. The monster truck driver runs over Marty's car and crushes it, which results in Marty's car being towed. The tow truck driver, seeing that Marty is upset, tries to cheer Marty up by joking about his blue skin.

These pranks, along with the incident with the monster truck driver, cause Marty to miss two appointments with Marcus Duncan, the president of Universal Studios. After the critical and box-office failure of Marty's previous film, the action comedy Whittaker and Fowl, Universal Pictures president Marcus Duncan loses confidence in him and refuses to produce Big Fat Liar unless Marty can convince him otherwise. Jason agrees to help Marty 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 for the film and will 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 Marty's employees and devise a plan to expose him, 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 beloved stuffed monkey toy. 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 conversation is revealed to have been caught on camera and is witnessed by many people, including Jason's parents, Kaylee’s grandmother, the news media, Marcus Duncan and his family, and every executive at Universal studios. Disgusted by his actions, Marcus fires Marty, stating that its over and Jason thanks Marty for teaching him the importance of truth-telling. Marty furiously attempts to get revenge on Jason by chasing him, but Jason escapes by jumping off the building, lands on the air sack and reunites with his parents, regaining their trust in the process. Marty yells at his employees by stating their all fired as everyone walks off on him, which leads to the downfall of his studio.

Despite Marty getting fired, Universal studios still goes on to produce Big Fat Liar. The film utilizes the talent and skills of all the people Marry 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 is given credit for writing the original story, as his name is seen during the closing credits, making his parents and Ms. Caldwell very proud of him.

Elsewhere in Hollywood, Marty Wolf Pictures is shut down for good after Marty declares bankruptcy. He then begins his new job as a birthday clown, yet during a visit to a birthday when he tries to entertain the guests, his party guests are unamused. The birthday boy's father is revealed to be the monster truck driver Marty encountered earlier on. The masher after recognizing Marty, encourages his son to attack Marty using a move call the nutcracker, which he does by kicking him in the groin as the guests cheer on, ending 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 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. After getting fired, he becomes bankrupt. By the end of the film, he gets a new job as a birthday clown.
  • 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. By the end of the film, he becomes an actor, starring in big fat liar as the lead character.
  • 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 remake of 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