Big Fat Liar,
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This review is from: Big Fat Liar [DVD]  (DVD)
Jason Shepherd is a habitual liar, making up cheeky and imaginative stories, usually to get out of trouble. He's quite hurt when his parents (understandably) don't believe him when he actually tells the bizarre truth - an unscrupulous Hollywood producer has plagiarised Jason's creative writing assignment and used it as the storyline for a make-or-break potential blockbuster. When Jason encounters the producer, Marty Wolf, it is clear both are accomplished liars and Wolf is like an older version of Jason. But there's one huge difference. Jason lies to get out of homework, but has not one ounce of greed or unpleasantness in him. He doesn't want money or credit for the movie, only that his folks believe him. Wolf lies in persuit of money and success, he is mean and rude, and bullies and tramples people, albeit probably not deliberately. For example to a veteran stuntman: 'See, this is the movie business, Grandpa, the talkies, you know - and you can take your personal day in a year or two, when you're dead.' Jason has the courage of his convictions and persuades best friend Kaylee to help him. They set off on a daring adventure to Hollywood to confront Wolf and make him admit the truth. Jason is so trusting and genuinely believes Wolf will do so. Facing Wolf's ruthlessness and the frustration of not being believed, Jason is almost in tears, and it's hard not to feel sorry for him. Unfortunately in real life it is often hard to find allies or even be believed when wronged. The premise of the movie is at first serious and potentially depressing, but without giving too much away, these plucky teenagers are not going to give up without a fight! They set out to bite Wolf back - BIG TIME!
The movie's comedic side is huge, humorous characters and situations abound, so it's actually hugely enjoyable. Not just the comedy, but the sheer audacity of the teenagers' quest and the sheer outrageousness of Wolf's character. I couldn't stop laughing. Frankie Muniz is very likeable and convincing as Jason. Amanda Bynes is excellent as Kaylee, who helps and supports Jason in so many ways. They play off each other beautifully, and it's nice to see boy and girl as close friends but not actually boyfriend and girlfriend. Although one warm smile from Amanda and one trademark smutty look from Frankie may, or may not, suggest otherwise... Despite great performances from highly talented Muniz and Bynes, Paul Giamatti steals the show - he absolutely relishes, and clearly suffers for, the part of sleazy Wolf. One has to admire anyone who does what Giamatti does as Duran Duran plays Hungry Like the Wolf! Great supporting cast includes Jaleel White (uncredited). Terrific choices (including above) for the soundtrack. Ostensibly aimed at young people the movie has plenty to amuse all age group. Bonus features include an interesting feature on location, and informative commentaries, one with director Shawn Levy, the other a typically enthusiastic one with Frankie Muniz.