Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger
Starring: Frankie Muniz, Paul Giamatti, Amanda Bynes, Amanda Detmer
Director: Shawn Levy
Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a fourteen year-old boy who gets by in life telling lies to cover for himself and to get what he wants. After being caught out by his parents and teacher he is given an ultimatum to write a term paper in a few hours or attend summer school. He writes the paper but on the way to delivering it to his teacher he gets into an accident with a limousine, which wrecks his bicycle. He talks his way into getting a ride in the limo to deliver his paper with a movie producer Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti) who also lives his life through lying and cheating. Jason gets to his destination in time but accidentally leaves his term paper in the limo. Of course as he’s lied so much in the past his parents and teacher think he’s lying now and make him attend summer school.
He hates it and when he goes to see a movie with his best friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) he sees a trailer for Marty Wolf’s new movie, which Jason recognises as the story from his term paper. His parent’s don’t believe him so when they go away for a weekend he takes the opportunity to go to Los Angeles with his friend Kaylee to get Marty Wolf to admit the truth.
Naturally Marti isn’t just a liar he’s also a very nasty piece of work so Jason and Kaylee decide to make Wolf’s life hell which involves pranks like filling Wolfe’s swimming pool with blue dye so he turns blue, then swapping his hair shampoo with orange dye, putting super glue on his mobile phone’s earpiece and rewiring the electrics, in his car.
This may all sound like pretty silly stuff but the film is timed so well and the acting and character development is so good that it really works and is genuinely funny. Also don’t forget that this movie is aimed at kids so it’s unlikely that they will have ‘seen it all before’.
You’ll notice I just said the acting is so good and I don’t just mean by the adults. The kids playing Jason and Kaylee are so natural and confident which is hardly surprising when you consider the fact that even at their young age they have already gained a wealth of experience. Frankie Muniz who plays Jason is most well known for his part in Malcolm in the TV series MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE and Amanda Bynes also has her own TV show, Nickelodeon’s THE AMANDA SHOW. Both the young actors also have a host of other credits.
The other main actor is Paul Giamatti who plays Marty Wolf. Giamatti is outstanding in this role, his first as a lead character, previously having been cast in supporting roles. He is really funny in this over-the-top part and could easily become a household name if he is given the opportunity.
BIG FAT LIAR is primarily a kids movie but will provide more than a few laughs to all age groups.