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Big Fat Liar

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2002 1 Jan
Big Fat Liar
from Film Forum, 02/14/02

Big Fat Liar stars Frankie Muniz (TV's Malcolm in the Middle) as Jason, a kid who discovers that his school paper is being turned into a blockbuster motion picture by a thieving Hollywood executive (Paul Giamatti). With the help of his friend (Amanda Bynes) he sets out to right the wrong. His parents, who consider Jason a chronic liar, come to admire their son's efforts, and Jason himself learns a lesson about the value of telling the truth.

Phil Boatwright describes it as a variation on "the boy who cried wolf." He says, "Although I admit to laughing out loud several times, I think the silliness of the plot will leave most grownups cold. But kids will have a blast."

But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops critic labels it a "lame comedy" and an "unfunny fantasy." Jason "ends up mocking truth instead of championing it, while the plodding story line, caricatured characters and mean-spirited escapades become increasingly disagreeable."

Holly McClure (Crosswalk) disagrees, calling it "an example of a fun-filled adventure story that kids and younger teens will relate to and parents will appreciate because of the underlying themes about telling the truth. This is a big fat winner for the whole family, and that's the truth!"

John Adair (Preview) says, "The film's message … is that in the end, it always pays to tell the truth. However, to learn this lesson, Jason often has to lie and deceive his way through various obstacles. This could lead to a good family discussion of Abraham's lies about his wife or Rahab … the woman in Jericho who lied to protect the spies of Israel."

Tom Snyder (Movieguide) remarks, "Morally speaking, Jason's scheming and practical jokes are not something parents would want their children to emulate. Still, truth wins out in the end, and Jason and his father experience a nice bonding moment after the climax to the story. There are also a couple times in the picture where characters look skyward, as if appealing to God for help."

Douglas Downs (Christian Spotlight) says, "It is … a safe flick if you are just dropping off the youth for a matinee. My recommendation is: Enjoy!"