Bigger Fatter Liar Apr 24, 2017 15:33:38 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Apr 24, 2017 15:33:38 GMT -5
Bigger Fatter Liar (2017)
Directed by: Ron Oliver
Directed by: Ron Oliver
Barry Bostwick in Bigger Fatter Liar.
Big Fat Liar is one of the minor classics of my generation. It's not a Disney film, it's not an animated film, and it's not by any means a terrific film that should be regarded for its meaningful life lessons or morals. Starring Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes in their prime — both of whom mostly retired from acting — the film was an enjoyable "kids rule" tween film, largely succeeding off of the charisma of Muniz and Bynes together and the acting ability of Paul Giamatti, who has always been a master of not always taking performances too seriously. It also helped that the premise of kids outwitting adults in clever and innovative ways had a certain grace about it, one that wasn't disturbed by the presence of technology or doing what once seemed impossible (and likely still is) with a few clicks of a smartphone.
Now, fifteen years later, we have one of the most worthless followups I can think of to any film, especially one that was apparently so hard to conceive a sequel for, they had to resort to essentially remaking the film. Despite being billed as a sequel, stand-alone or within the Big Fat Liar Cinematic Universe I'm still trying to figure out, Bigger Fatter Liar is basically a remake of the 2002 comedy, featuring two young actors who would be so lucky to have a career half as noteworthy as Muniz or Bynes'. Barry Bostwick should also be wishing he went back to Transsexual, Transylvania rather than commit to such trite.
Instead of Muniz's Jason Shepard, we now meet Kevin Shepard, played cloyingly by Ricky Garcia. Where Muniz played his role as more of an identifiable young slacker who preferred skateboarding and video games yet still had a likable edge to his deviance, Garcia plays his like a surly, pompous ass or the kid in school from who you couldn't wait to move away. Kevin is a tech-whiz, who decides to use a prewritten essay to serve as his final paper on emerging technology for his social studies class. One would like to think someone so well-versed with the internet and smartphones would be aware that very accurate and prominent anti-plagiarism sites and programs are popping up everywhere, but I digress.
Nonetheless, his teacher nabs him, his father is disappointed in him, and Kevin now risks going to summer school if he can't handwrite a new essay in less than 24 hours. He winds up writing several pages conceiving a mobile game called "Big Fat Liar" to submit as his paper because apparently an assignment that once appeared to be a formal essay can now be whatever the hell the student feels like making it. On his way to school, Kevin is hit by a limousine taxiing the unruly Alan Wolf (instead of Giamatti's Marty Wolf, played by Barry Bostwick), who is the CEO for a large technology/video-game conglomerate. Wolf winds up stealing Kevin's essay, resulting in him having to take summer school.
Kevin's "Big Fat Liar" app concept turns out to be a potential smash-hit on the market, prompting him and his best friend Becca (Jodelle Ferland) to fly to San Francisco in order to make Wolf confess that he stole the idea. When Wolf refuses, Kevin and Becca decide to make his existence a living hell.
Instead of having him shower in blue dye, the devious duo wind up getting Wolf to look like a mime with some kind of permanent skin lotion on his face and burning a good portion of his hair off so he resembles a mime. They plant ghost peppers in his vegetable-based shake just before he goes on national television to talk about "Big Fat Liar"'s ongoing production, which is troubled by the presence of game-bugs, and they eventually use his technology against him.
It's truly pitiful how obviously lazy of a film Bigger Fatter Liar is. It takes a concept that was lucky to work once and regurgitates it into an even more redundant and incredulous affair than before. It seems that no matter what the issue is, Kevin is always prepared in some inexplicably genius way. Consider when he uses his phone to record Wolf admitting to have stolen "Big Fat Liar." Just before Wolf kicks him and Becca out of his office, Wolf requests Kevin's phone and claims his attempt at deception to be an admirable effort. It just so happens, as the two kids are escorted out, Kevin reveals a spare phone that somehow obtained all of Wolf's most sensitive information, including credit card numbers, which the two teens use in order to rent a hotel room in San Francisco. Did the hotel never ask for an ID and where does Kevin get the money for two phones and more throughout the film?
Again, Garcia and Ferland lack the charisma and charm that Muniz and Bynes so effortlessly oozed when they were on-screen in Big Fat Liar. The two could be solid additions in a concept of their own, or something not tied to dated source material, but that remains to be seen. While Bigger Fatter Liar is a creative failure on many fronts, it's also a sad testament to how lazy technology has made the screenplays of films, especially kids films. All you need is a whiz-kid who can do almost anything with a smartphone or a tablet as you main character, and have him, in just a matter of seconds, hack this, copy that, or reproduce this into something else. There's zero strategy or grace, but why would you even expect to find such honorable, expensive traits in a film as cheap as Bigger Fatter Liar?
Starring: Ricky Garcia, Jodelle Ferland, and Barry Bostwick. Directed by: Ron Oliver.