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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

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1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review
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Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

In the sweet, kid's comedy, BIG FAT LIAR, Jason Shepherd is the consummate con man. Well, he would be if he were a man. Actually, he's a short, 14-year-old boy with extra big, blue eyes and an extra small mouth played winningly by Frankie Muniz, the star of the popular television series, "Malcolm in the Middle."

Jason's paper for English class is stolen by an unscrupulous slimeball of a movie producer named Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti). Marty, currently shooting a buddy movie (WHITAKER AND FOWL) about a cop with an actual chicken for a sidekick, hasn't had a profitable picture in a long time. But Jason's story, titled BIG FAT LIAR, looks like it will become next summer's big hit movie.

Although Giamatti hams it up for all he's worth, this movie belongs to the younger actors. Well cast with Muniz is Nickelodeon's Amanda Bynes, as Kaylee, Jason's initially reluctant partner-in-crime. Together they sneak off to Hollywood while their parents are gone and they are supposed to be staying with someone else. Once in LaLaLand, Jason plots an intricate plan for revenge to force Marty to tell Jason's dad the truth about who wrote the screenplay.

Although their payback scheme may not be the most original, Muniz and Bynes are such an eminently likeable duo that you'll be rooting for them and laughing. Typical of the gags is the pouring of blue dye into Marty's swimming pool. You can probably guess the next song after that episode.

The PG-rated movie, which should have been rated G, doesn't contain a single crude moment. BIG FAT LIAR gets its laughs the old fashion way without resorting to bathroom humor or foul language. As THE PRINCESS DIARIES showed last year, G (or PG) movies don't have to be bland, and they can be quite good. It's no lie -- BIG FAT LIAR is a real charmer.

BIG FAT LIAR runs a breezy 1:28. It is rated PG for "some language" and would be acceptable for all ages.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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