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Big Fat Liar

 

Starring: Frankie Muniz, Amanda Bynes, Paul Giamatti
Director: Shawn Levy

Rating: PG

Review Posted: 9.18.02

 

By John Teves.

 

The Movie

 

Jason Shephard (Frankie Muniz) lies for the fun of it. Jason loses an important story assignment entitled 'Big Fat Liar' in movie producer Marty Wolf's (Paul Giamatti) limo, which Wolf then turns into a film. When Jason sees a movie preview of his story, he and best friend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) go to Los Angeles to make Wolf confess to using Jason's story as well as to clear Jason's name and to get him out of having to attend summer school. The teen liar then has to match wits with Wolf, who also turns out to be a big liar.

 

Big Fat Liar is proof that a movie does not have to be drenched with gross humor to exist. I thought this film was refreshingly sarcastic, boisterously entertaining, extremely funny and an unexpected surprise for a family movie. Big Fat Liar exceeded my expectations. I anticipated a conventional made for TV movie instead the film delivered so much more.

 

The Video

 

Big Fat Liar appears in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame on this single-sided, double-layered DVD. Unfortunately, Universal decided not to extend the widescreen version of this film in itís orginal 1.85:1 dimension, however for those of you who have your heart set on having the 16x9 enhanced widescreen version of this film there are distributors out who have them for sale.

 

All in all the movie looked terrific, with very few problems. Sharpness was immaculate throughout the film. The picture appeared consistently crisp and detailed, jagged edges presented no concerns, and the print used also appeared clean. Colors looked natural.

 

The film used a life-like palette, coming across realistic and clear, with no problems related to noise or bleeding. Black levels were by the same token rich and deep, and shadow detail appeared appropriately thick but never heavy. In its entirety, I found BFL to offer a satisfying visual experience.

 

The Audio

 

Big Fat Liar  is presented in both Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS soundtrack; I found the two tracks to seem similar but the DTS track seemed to have a little more kick. Not surprisingly, the soundfield presented a strong emphasis on the forward channels, which offered a reasonably ample and engaging spectrum of audio.

 

The front speakers showed nicely localized effects and a little dialogue, and the music displayed excellent stereo separation, all of which blended together fine. Audio quality seemed excellent. Dialogue consistently appeared natural and distinct, with no signs of edginess. Effects were clean and realistic, and they displayed good dynamic range as well.

 

The soundtrack worked best of all, as the score seemed bright and vivid, and it offered nice, tight bass. Ultimately, the soundtrack appeared distinct and it was typical for this type of film.

 

The Extras

 

Here's the rundown:

 

-An 11-minute "Spotlight On Location" promo featurette

-14-minutes worth of deleted footage

-Trivia challenge

-Big Fat Liar interactive game

-Universal Studios Back lot interactive map

-"Spyro" game trailer

-Theatrical trailer

-Production notes

-Cast/crew bios

-Recommendations

-DVD-ROM features

 

Overall

 

Overall, I thought Big Fat Liar was a lovable film. The movie boasted a good lead performance from Muniz, Giamatti, and Bynes. The DVD offers a satisfying visual experience and a typical track for this type of film coupled with a reasonably solid addition of extras. Fans of Muniz, Giamatti and Bynes will likely enjoy this film. Highly recommended.

 

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