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Bigger Fatter Liar
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bigger Fatter Liar is a follow-up movie to the successful Big Fat Liar, a 2002 family comedy. This new movie is not a sequel; rather it's the same story as the original set in a different cultural arena. Big Fat Liar pitted a teen against a Hollywood mogul who had stolen his idea. This film pits a teen against a video game executive who steals his idea. There's slapstick action throughout -- some falls, a wild car ride, suspense created by an oncoming train, a fight, a car hitting a teen. There are no injuries, and nothing is to be taken seriously. Expect mild cursing ("smart-ass," "crap") and some insults and potty language ("idiots," "moron," "pee," "dummy"). One scene takes place in a down-and-dirty bar with drinking and menacing characters. The teen heroes spike the villain's smoothie with a knockout drug. Honesty and trustworthiness are the values promoted; however, most of the film shows the various characters behaving dishonestly and unethically and breaking the law. This film is not recommended.
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What's the story?
Kevin Shepard (Ricky Garcia) can't seem to get out of trouble in BIGGER FATTER LIAR. He's so busy taking shortcuts, lying, and plagiarizing his schoolwork that he doesn't seem to be aware that he has valuable talents he could be using. It takes him only a few hours to create a video game that might really be special. But when he's on the way to school to turn in his masterpiece, a freak accident finds him in the back seat of a limousine with Alan Wolf (Barry Bostwick), a monumentally successful video game executive. Unfortunately for Kevin, Alan Wolf is even more of a liar and a cheat than he is. The all-important blueprint of the game is taken by Wolf, with Kevin literally left out in the cold. Kevin wants his game back, and when news of the video game's imminent appearance in the marketplace is released, he vows to get it. What follows is a series of adventures during which Kevin, along with his best and most trusted friend, Becca (Jodelle Ferland), trick and prank the unrepentant Wolf until he comes undone. It's a backstabbing, breaking-and-entering, kidnapping plot, with Alan Wolf doggedly trying to pull off the heist in spite of those pesky kids.
Is it any good?
It doesn't get any more ridiculous than this inane, fantastical comic misfire, in which nothing makes sense, and sight gags, along with the humiliation of a bad guy, mean everything. Poor Barry Bostwick! The indignities he suffers shouldn't fall on any actor, especially not one of his longevity and talent. Ricky Garcia and Jodelle Ferland are fine, and given the fact that almost everything they do and say in Bigger Fatter Liar comes out of left field, they cannot be faulted for their performances -- only for the fact that they took the job. The sheer enormity of the dishonesty and misbehavior these two kids engage in makes the resolution in which Kevin learns his crucial lessons seem insignificant. Kids, particularly middle-graders and tweens, might laugh at a large scowling man wreaking havoc on the streets in whiteface and an awful dye job, being trapped on tracks with an oncoming train roaring toward him, and facing a final punishment that finds him working as a mime on city streets, but there's a mean-spiritedness and recklessness about it all that makes it loathsome. Stick to the original Big Fat Liar if you want to have fun watching a young teen get back at an evil businessman.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the consequences (or lack thereof) of Kevin's behavior in Bigger Fatter Liar. How greatly would Kevin's "five-day suspension" affect him when it was given on the last day of school? What might be real-life consequences of a). stealing phones and credit cards and then using them, b). breaking into a house, or c). using a parent's credit card to charge significant amounts? Does the fact that this movie is a comedy make it all OK?
What specific story elements or characters resulted in Kevin's turnaround? Was there enough evidence to believe him when he said, "I don't want to lie anymore. I want my dad to be proud of me. I want to be proud of myself"?
Who are the "smart" people in this film? Is Alan Wolf, with his greed, arrogance, and stupidity, really a worthy opponent for Kevin and Becca? In creating a story, what is the advantage of having a worthy foe for the hero or heroes?
Look up the literary term "comic foil." Noting that Kevin's teacher, Kevin's dad, Alan Wolf, and his associates, are all either gullible, dishonest, or foolish, how does the "comic foil" concept relate to the adults in this story?
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