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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes, eventually, the importance of telling the truth over lying, and shows how lying on a regular basis violates the trust between kids and parents, besides raising doubts even when "big fat liars" tell the truth.
Positive Role Models
The two main characters lie to try to fool their teacher, then later use their "gifts" for lying to try and take down the Hollywood studio exec who lied about where he got the inspiration for his latest hit movie. Parents are concerned about the lying, but also conveniently leave town for a week when the story requires it. Lots of character stereotypes: dumb jock, blind/deaf/senile grandmother, pompous/shouty Hollywood studio exec.
Violence & Scariness
A character is knocked off his skateboard by a group of bullies, who also push and shove him before stealing the skateboard. While not shown, a character is kicked in the groin, replete with sound effects to drive the point home. A character dressed as a clown is shown being knocked over by a group of young kids at a birthday party; all of whom take turns jumping, tackling, and leaping on top of the clown.
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Name-calling: "Up yours," "retardo," "You suck." A character shouts from off-camera that a "dookie" has clogged the toilet.
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Products & Purchases
Coca-Cola cans and a vending machine are prominently featured.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult social drinking, and an adult character lights a cigar, but instead of smoking it, uses it to burn some papers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Big Fat Liar is a funny take on ruthlessness in Hollywood full of puerile pratfall humor and name-calling. There are instances of bullying throughout the film -- especially at the beginning -- and the character stereotypes (dumb jock, senile grandmother) are plentiful. While the madcap antics of Frankie Muniz, Amanda Bynes and Paul Giamatti will appeal to kids and grown-ups, lessons on the importance of being honest are found amid all the silliness. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Muniz and Giamatti are deft comic actors in BIG FAT LIAR, but the highlight of the movie is Bynes as Kaylee. Her two different but equally hilarious renditions of Hollywood secretaries are gems. Giamatti is so relentlessly selfish and egotistical that it gets a bit tedious, but he does do a wonderful little dance to "Hungry Like a [what else?] Wolf."
One small bright spot worth mentioning is that all of Jason's efforts are intended to show that he was telling the truth. His motive for pursuing Wolf is never getting any money or credit for his story. Another strength of the movie is its racially diverse cast.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.