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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


St. Petersburg Times Online

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Fun 'Fat' slim on plot

photo
[Photo: Universal Studios]
Jason Shepherd, played by Frankie Muniz, and his friend Kaylee, Amanda Baynes, walk through the back lot of a movie studio in their search for a producer who stole Jason’s idea for a film in Universal Studios’ Big Fat Liar.

By BILLY NORRIS
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 18, 2002


Movie: Big Fat Liar

Rating: PG

Summary: Jason Shepherd (Frankie Muniz) is a 14-year-old who is a very creative liar. When he tells one too many lies, he loses the trust of his teacher and parents. When a desperate Jason persuades the teacher to give him an extension on the deadline for a creative writing assignment, he races against time (on his bicycle) to deliver the paper and is hit by a limousine carrying a Hollywood movie producer, Marty Wolf (Paul Giamatti).

Wolf reluctantly gives Jason a ride to school, and whoops, Jason leaves his paper entitled "Big Fat Liar" in the back seat of the car. Wolf finds it, reads it, then decides to turn Jason's paper into a much-needed big-screen success. Jason travels to Los Angeles to seek revenge on this evil producer, but more importantly, to regain the trust of his parents, especially his dad.

My view: I thought this movie was going to be absolutely horrible, but it really wasn't bad at all. The plot was unsurprising, but it did provoke a lot of laughs from the audience, me included, and held the attention of the families viewing the film.

Favorite part: Paul Giamatti was full of expression as this zany, big-time jerk of a producer. He was very good at the physical humor, which there was plenty of, and I was greatly amused by his performance.

Least favorite part: It was very predictable.

Recommendations: This movie provides for a fun family outing on a Saturday afternoon.

Grade: B-

- Billy Norris, 14, is in the eighth grade at Seminole Middle School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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