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Big Fat Liar

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Big Fat Liar

Starring: Frankie Muniz, Amanda Bynes
Director: Shawn Levy
Rated: PG
RunTime: 88 Minutes
Release Date: February 2002
Genres: Comedy, Kids

*Also starring: Paul Giamatti, Amanda Detmer, Lee Majors, Lawrence Watson, Lindsay Tryctha, Jaleel White

Review by Susan Granger
1 star out of 4

So what would you do if you were a Michigan eighth-grader whose story was stolen and being turned into an upcoming movie? If you were Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz), a truth-challenged 14 year-old who wrote a semi-autobiographical 1,000-word English paper called 'Big Fat Liar' that somehow wound up in the limousine of Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti), an unscrupulous movie producer, you'd sneak off to Hollywood with your best-friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes of Nickelodeon's "The Amanda Show") to confront the sleazy guy, demanding that he make things right. But that's easier said than just escaping from a Universal Studio Tour and hiding out in a costume/scenery warehouse. Predictably, Marty Wolf refuses to confess, even as Jason's stolen homework assignment goes up in flames. But the shamelessly truth-twisting Marty has enemies - and Jason enlists all of them. Deservedly, Marty spends a great deal of time with blue skin and orange hair. Ineptly directed by Shawn Levy, poor Freddie Muniz flounders in this boy-who-cried-wolf wish-fulfillment fantasy - he's Malcolm in a Muddle - as Dan Schneider's script misses every opportunity for satire. "Bionic Man" Lee Majors does a cameo as a past-his-prime stunt coordinator and child-star Jaleel White is his alter-ego: TV star Steve Urkel. Being charitable, I suspect this was just another one of last year's rush-it-now-before-the-Actors-Strike projects - and, at least, it teaches a lesson not to lie. But what about running away and not telling anyone? On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Big Fat Liar" is a lame 3. Or, as the actor playing the president of Universal Studios notes: "It's a sorry excuse for a movie."

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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