Big Fat Liar
is a 2002 kid's film starring Frankie Muniz as a 14-year-old Jason Shepherd, Amanda Bynes as 14-year-old Kaylee, and Paul Giamatti
as the villain. Very over-the-top, although what can you expect from
writer Dan Schneider
In a modern-day retelling of the Boy Who Cried Wolf, Jason Shepherd is a Big Fat Liar
who lies all the time to everyone. Then a greedy movie director- Marty Wolf- steals his creative writing essay to use it as the basis for his next blockbuster, and no-one will believe Jason when he explains what happened
. Thus, Jason decides that the only way to convince everyone that he's being honest is to sneak off to L.A. with his friend Kaylee and inflict a series of increasingly harmful pranks on Wolff until he has a nervous breakdown and confesses. Hilarity Ensues
It got 44% rotten on Rotten Tomatoes
, but surprisingly received 3 stars from Roger Ebert
This film provides examples of:
- Adam Westing: Jaleel White. Don't call him Urkel—he will get pissed.
- Adults Are Useless: While played straight in the beginning, Jason and Kaylee soon find that there is a healthy number of adults in Hollywood who help them in their payback plot.
- Arcade Sounds: Jason plays a Pin Bot pinball table, which makes electro-mechanical sounds and chimes instead of the game's digital music and voices.
- Bare Your Midriff: Kaylee wears a belly shirt for part of the movie.
- Big "OMG!": Marty gets one when he's in the shower and finally realizes that he's covered in blue thanks to the blue dye put in his pool, and has just put orange coloring in his hair to top it all off.
- The wrestler guy also does this when he recognizes him from earlier in the ending of the film.
- Break the Haughty
- Brick Joke: At one point in Jason's revenge scheme against Wolf, he tricks his assistant into having him going to a stunt actor's grandson's birthday party, with the kids mistaking his blue and orange "features" as his being a birthday clown. After he ends up fired, his new job is being an actual birthday clown.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Jason.
- The Cameo: Director Shawn Levy, Bynes' All That colleague Kenan Thompson, and Dustin Diamond all appear at Wolf's house party.
- Cassandra Truth: Main plot of the movie.
- Character as Himself: Jaleel White as... Jaleel White
- Chekhov's Skill: All of Marty's former employees utilize one in the payback.
- Circling Monologue: Between Jason and Marty.
- Cool Old Guy: Vince.
- Crying Wolf: Doing this all the time is what keeps everyone from believing that Jason lost his homework on his way to school. That and the fact that a director stealing a kid's script is highly improbable under ordinary circumstances, so unfortunately even if Jason didn't have a reputation as a liar, it would be a pretty easy thing to disbelieve anyway.
- Deadpan Snarker: Marty Wolf, when he's not SCREAMING IN EVERYONE'S FACES.
- Disguised in Drag: When Bret has to pose as Kaylee to visit her grandmother in her stead. All things considered, it works.
- Disturbed Doves: See Ironic Echo below.
- D.I.Y. Disaster: Jason and Kaylee purposely wire Marty's car to do this, with the brake making the car horn go off, and a lot of other stuff.
- The Dog Bites Back: See Heel-Face Turn.
- Drives Like Crazy: Jaleel.
- Dumb Muscle: Bret Callaway.
- Earn Your Happy Ending
- Engineered Public Confession The ending.
- Fat Bastard: How Marty treats his own public relations manager.
- Formally Named Pet: Marty Wolf has a stuffed monkey named Mr. Funnybones that he's... oddly attached to.
- Former Child Star: Poor Jaleel White just can't be taken seriously.
- Girl Friday: Without Kaylee, Jason is dead in the water. Seriously, he can't pull off anything without her.
- Grandparental Obliviousness: Grandma Pearl. "That woman doesn't even know what year it is".
- Groin Attack: Heavily implied to be what Marty (dressed as "Wolfy the Clown") got in the ending.
- Heel-Face Turn: Monty has one, along with all of Marty Wolf's employees
- Heroic Blue Screen of Death: Jason has a mild one when Marty breaks his promise to tell the truth about Big Fat Liar to Jason's parents in exchange for help on the movie and tells his security guard Rocko to send them back home to Michigan (but snaps out of it when Wolf's secretary Monty, who is fed up with Wolf's constant mistreatment towards her agrees to help them out.)
- High School Hustler: Jason at school.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Marty's over-arrogance is what pretty much does him in.
- Hollywood California: The setting of most of the movie.
- Hollywood Skydiving
- Humiliation Conga: What Marty goes through throughout the movie when Jason goes after him.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Monty has been writing Wolf's scripts for him for years. Overlaps with Beleaguered Assistant, as she gets nothing but grief for her trouble.
- I Am Not Spock: In-Universe. Poor Jaleel White...
"How many times have I told you not to call me "Urkel?!" My name is Jaleel White!"
- In a World: Parodied in the BFL Trailer.
- Ironic Echo: "12 camera angles with birds flying around..."
- Jerkass: Marty Wolf should be a 7-letter word.
- Jerk Jock: Bret Calloway.
- Kitsch Collection: The secretary's tacky stuffed dog collection.
- Large Ham: Paul Giamatti really enjoyed himself making this movie.
- Late for School: The opening.
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Once he captures Jason and Kaylee, Wolf sends them back to the prop warehouse to pack for their flight home. The same warehouse where they previously got every tool they'd used against him so far....
- Lonely at the Top. Marty is probably one of the most successful directors in the movie but he's pretty much alienated anyone close to him which ends up biting him in the rear.
- Massive Multiplayer Scam: emphasis on Massive.
- Mean Boss: Marty Wolf.
- Meaningful Name: Perpetual liar Jason Shepherd has his English paper stolen by Marty and, of course, Jason isn't believed when he explains this. Note: Their last names refer to Aesop's fable the Boy Who Cried Wolf.
Kaylee: I wanna see a broken man, people. I mean, broken as in, "I hit a baseball through the window" broken. I want you to turn him into mince meat, and I don't even know what mince meat is! I want him to cry for his mommy! "Wah! Wah! Mommy, mommy, mommy!" Do you read me?! 'Cause I don't think you read me!
- Mexican Standoff
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Wolf is such Jerkass, that his assistant Monty and pretty much every one of his employees plot his downfall with Jason.
- Morality Pet: Marty Wolf's stuffed monkey, Mr. Funnybones, is the closest thing to something he genuinely cares about.
- The Nicknamer: Marty Wolf, and a mean one at that.
- No Peripheral Vision: Marty doesn't notice his entire body is blue until he looks straight in the mirror.
- No Respect Guy: Anyone who works for Marty. Just pick 1 person.
- Rocko Malone, the security guy?
- Obsolete Mentor: Poor "Gramps".
- Oh, Crap: Marty reduced to being a clown says this in the ending of the movie when he meets the same wrestler whose car he wrecked.
- The Oner: Jaleel White's intro scene. The deleted scenes reel has an even longer version.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Bret as Kaylee, although justified, considering Grandma Pearl is half-blind.
- Platonic Life Partners: Jason and Kaylee
- Refuge in Audacity: Like any director would steal creative writing from some kid's backpack and turn it into his next big movie...
- Sarcastic Confession
- Slow Motion Drop: Parodied in the movie trailer of the movie-in-a-movie Big Fat Liar
- Stealth Pun: Jason always lies until he finally tells the truth that someone stole his paper, and no one believes him. The thief? Director Marty Wolf. Jason is the Boy Who Cried Wolf, literally.
- Stern Teacher: Mrs. Phyllis Caldwell, Jason's English teacher.
- Surrogate Soliloquy: Marty with Mr. Funnybones.
- Two Words: Obvious Trope: Parodied in the awful movie-in-a-movie Whittaker and Fowl:
Listen Whitaker, I am not your father and I'm not your priest I got two words for you: shut the heck up! You talk way too much... can we cut?
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Oh boy. And this backfires against Marty in just five seconds later.
Marty: Yeah, I stole your story, whoop-de-doodle-do! I STOLE JASON SHEPARD'S STORY AND TURNED IT INTO BIG FAT LIAR! Do you know who's listening? Nobody and get used to it. Because I will never-ever-never-ever-ever-ever-ever-infinity tell the truth!
- Villain Ball: If Marty had just called Jason's father like he asked (and he had the chance to twice), Jason would have just let the whole thing go and he'd still have his movie. After all, who's going to believe Jason's father over a famous Hollywood producer?
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Pretending the dog-lover secretary's car is ''parked on a dog's tail''
- You, Get Me Coffee: Marty's attitude to Monty
- You Have to Believe Me: Poor Jason
- Younger Than They Look: Jason and Kaylee are both 14, but appear like they can be 16-17 years old.
- Zany Scheme: Jason comes up with these, A Simple Plan, and then the most elaborate plan of all