ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to our youth through you,
their parents and grandparents, in His name by His Word

Big Fat Liar (2002), PG
Analysis Date: Febraury 9, 2002
CAP Score: 68
CAP Influence Density: 0.68

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is completely objective to His Word and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

BIG FAT LIAR (PG) -- ...the boy who cried wolf once too often was not eaten...

Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Director(s): Shawn Levy
Producer(s): Brian Robbins, Michael Tollin
Written by/Screenplay: Dan Schneider & Brian Robbins (story), Dan Schneider (screenplay)
Cinematography/Camera: Jonathan Brown
Music: Christophe Beck
Editing: Stuart H. Pappé, Kimberly Ray

Frankie Muniz (Jason Shepherd)
Paul Giamatti (Marty Wolf)
Amanda Bynes (Kaylee)
Amanda Detmer (Monty)
Limo Driver (Donald Adeosun Faison)
Stunt master (Lee Majors)

Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a smart alec liar. Everyone knows it. He lies about everything for laughs. And sometimes not for laughs. One time he got caught and was made to pay the price. He failed to do his homework which was one third of the semester grade. So, Jason enlisted the aid of his girlfriend Kaylee (Amanda Bynes) to act as his father's secretary and answer a call from Jason's teacher to his father so Jason could mimic his father and tell the teacher how he could not do his homework because he spent the evening at his father's side as his father was treated in the emergency department for choking.

Succeeding once more with his lies, Jason did not expect what would happen next. Jason's teacher called him into her classroom feigning appreciation for his unselfishness to be at his father's side when what to his wondering eyes did appear but his father and mother in the classroom. BOOM! If he did not do the 1000 word essay in the next four hours, he would fail the class and attend summer school.

So, fretting and sweating over what to write about a thought came to him. Write about lying! And that he did. He gave it the title of "Big Fat Liar." On his way to deliver the essay to his oriental teacher teaching English as a second language at a nearby community college, Jason runs into a limo occupied by Hollywood producer, Marty Wolfe (Paul Giamatti). Feigning neck injury and threatening lawsuit Jason manipulated Wolfe into giving him a ride to the community college to deliver his essay. As many 14 year old kids do, Jason klutzes his way over Wolfe's legs getting into the back seat, not the middle seat or the middle middle seat or the other middle seat, but the back seat -- the only one (of course) that was occupied. During Jason's klutzing he spilled his back pack all over the floorboard. This might seem typical and innocuous, but it is important to the plot, important because Jason fails to retrieve his homework assignment, "Big Fat Liar."

Next we see Jason attending summer school. After time-filler doldrum progresses for a few minutes we see (on TV) an announcement of a new and upcoming blockbuster movie ... *Big Fat Liar*, by Marty Wolfe no less. Unable to convince his father that "Big Fat Liar" is Jason's essay stolen by Wolfe, Jason launches a campaign to force Wolfe into fessing up to his dastardly deed. Jason and Kaylee set off for California -- together and without adult supervision. Conveniently, the parents of all adolescent characters involved are off somewhere for some really important something -- for the weekend. Even the adolescent left in charge of the adolescents is off somewhere -- for the weekend, with her boyfriend -- after a nice humble and compliant smile and promissory speech to her parents as they leave, of course.

Now, Jason and Kaylee are off to California ... by themselves ... to prove Jason is telling the truth, at least this time. The "justification" for this escapade into too much autonomy and independence too soon is Jason's attempts to capture his father's belief in him. Without revealing the rest of the story, suffice it to say Jason and Kaylee are collected safe and all is well. But were there any consequences for the potentially fatal defiance of the youths? N-o-o-o! Indeed, Jason's father was misty-eyed that his son would take such risks to prove his integrity. Granted, this is a probable and indeed positive reaction of a father, but ...

This time the boy who cried wolf once too often was not eaten by [the] Wolfe. Let us hope there is no "next time." The woodsman may not come to the rescue next time.

Programming in *Big Fat Liar* which may be of concern to parents and grandparents includes, of course, a ton of lies. There are also a few instances of foul language [Titus 2:6-8] and the use of God's name in vain but without the four letter expletive [Deut. 5:11]. Of likely major concern is the portrayal of adolescents in complete control and of portrayal of complete disregard for rules, especially of those which, when broken, can lead to nine months plus 18 years of commitment [Is. 30:1, Prov. 29:15]. *Big Fat Liar* was indeed glorification of freedom from accountability, freedom from authority and freedom from consequences [Prov. 22:15]. The prime desires of the target audience and the prime culprits of theft of childhood from children.

The thrust of this "entertainment" is to make comedy of lying with a mask of atonement to excuse the lying. As if to say "Go ahead and do the wrong as long as you are sorry for it afterwards." I will share with you how God feels about lying. Rev. 21:8 But the [unforgiven] fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death [Hell]. Rev. 22:14-15 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city [Heaven]. For without [outside] are dogs, and [the unforgiven] sorcerers [those who practice magic arts], and whoremongers [the sexually immoral], and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie [all liars - see Rev. 21:8]. These are indeed harsh Truths, but when is a lie not a lie? God is stern about many things but few as stern as He is about liars. He gives no condition or situation, even comedy or entertainment, where lying is acceptable. None.

Verification and validation of the CAP analysis model comparative baseline database revealed that G-rated movies earned from 100 to 87 out of 100, PG movies earned from 86 to 68, PG-13 movies earned from 67 to 55. R-rated movies earned from 54 and below. Consistently. Reliably. *Big Fat Liar* earned 68 placing it at the very bottom of the scoring range for PG movies, one point above PG-13. After analyses of more than 500 movies, the consistency and reliability of the CAP analysis model is proven. This movie may better have been a given a PG-13 rating.

The Findings/Scoring section provides the itemized list of findings.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ]. If you wish to have full context available, the Blue Letter Bible is a convenient source. If you use the Blue Letter Bible, a new window will open. Close it to return here or use "Window" in your browser's menu bar to alternate between the CAP page and the Blue Letter Bible page.

  • Titus 2:6-8 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
  • Is. 30:1 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the LORD, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
  • Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
  • Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]
  • Matt. 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto [or for] one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto [or for] me.
  • Luke 17:2 It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to sin. [cause by teaching or example]
  • Ps. 119:133 Direct my footsteps according to your word; let no sin rule over me.
  • John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.
  • 1 Thess. 5:22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    Big Fat Liar (2002) CAP Thermometers

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • bully theft
  • traffic injury to child
  • offer of cigar to a child
  • theft
  • unauthorized entry by adolescents, repeatedly
  • vehicular assault
  • jumping out of a moving car
  • a child jumping off a tall building

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • four uses of the three/four letter word vocabulary, once by a child
  • arrogance against teacher
  • teacher spitefulness
  • conspiracy to commit deceit against fair authority
  • "The truth ... it's overrated."
  • deceit by two children to fly off to California alone
  • lie to gain access to private office
  • lie to gain transportation
  • many, many other lies, most involving deceit of one sort or another
  • socially brutal remarks by an adult at kids, repeatedly
  • reckless driving with intent (reckless endangerment)
  • an order to lie
  • an offer to lie
  • adult tantrums

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • invitation to a 14 year old girl to spend the weekend with a 14 year old boy with no parents
  • older teenage girl using deceit to spend the weekend with her boyfriend with no parents

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • party with booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • seven uses of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive, once by an adolescent

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

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    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure or example from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I applaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our nearly seven years of study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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    (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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