Directed by: Shawn Levy
Starring: Frankie Munez, Amanda Bynes, Paul Giamatti, Lee Majors, Sandra Sinclair
Like lots of kids, 14-year-old Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz, star of Fox TV's Malcolm In the Middle) tells stories. Well, er, to be perfectly honest, he lies. In fact, he lies a lot. If there's anything in life that comes easily to Jason, it's twisting the truth. But he's sweet and audacious, and can do more fantasy trips on a cell phone than the gals on the Psychic 900 line. His extremely fragile handle on the truth is cute rather than offensive. But as all of us reality-benders have experienced first hand, the one time Jason tells the truth is the time he's not believed. The quest of the movie is his attempt to force an even bigger liar to tell the truth so that Jason can regain his father's trust. Considering all the dreck out there aimed at kids, this theme is one even movie-jaundiced parents will root for. On his way to hand-deliver his tardy short-story-writing assignment, Jason crashes his bicycle into a passing limousine. Sitting in the back, in all his unctuous glory, is visiting movie mogul Marty Wolf -- played to incredible perfection by Paul Giamatti (Planet of the Apes). Wolf prefers to avoid Jason's threat of a claim for whiplash injuries and so reluctantly takes him to a scheduled meeting with his English teacher. But, uh-oh, Jason accidentally leaves his paper in the limo and no one will believe his wild-but-true story. He's condemned to summer school to make up his grade for the missing paper. Watching television one night, Jason sees the promos for an upcoming blockbuster, Big Fat Liar. Lo and behold, the movie is based on Jason's homework assignment! In an all-too-familiar Hollywood tale, the slimy big-shot producer has stolen the little guy's idea! With his newspaper delivery savings, Jason and his adventurous gal buddy, Kaylee (Amanda Bynes, Nickelodeon TV's All That ) head off for Hollywood to seek justice. They have tremendous fun behind the scenes at Universal Studios as they cook up their plot. They use costumes, make-up, special effects, Superglue, computer wizardry and all kinds of clever lies to wreak havoc on Wolf's life. A lot of adults also hate Marty Wolf, so with the coincidences born in the fertile minds of young scriptwriters, our heroes gain the cooperation of a talented crew of revenge-inspired adults. Lee Majors (TV's classic Six Million Dollar Man) puts in a first-class performance as the senior-citizen stunt man who can still strut his stuff. Jason and Kaylee and their cohort of conspirators track Wolf down and ... well, I won't give away the ending. Let's just say that director Shawn Levy (Just in Time) has delivered a wild, colorful, harmless, super-cute movie that --if the laughter in the audience I saw the movie with is any indication - just might become a hot hit itself.