|“||You can take it from me. The truth? It's overrated.||„|
|~ Marty Wolf's motto.|
Martin "Marty" Wolf is the main antagonist of the 2002 comedy Big Fat Liar. He is an arrogant, greedy, mean and unscrupulous Hollywood producer who is a massive jerk to all his employees, and the archenemy of the protagonist, Jason Shepherd. When he steals Jason's essay for his next film, and won't give him credit or admit he stole it, Wolf is then faced with several indecencies as Jason tries to squeeze the truth out of him.
He was portrayed by Paul Giamatti, who also played Stan Beals in The Ant Bully, Aleksei Sytsevich/Rhino in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Karl Hertz in Shoot 'Em Up, Limbo in the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes, Chairman Drek in Ratchet & Clank, Beauty Smith in the 2018 Netflix original White Fang and Dr. Satan in The Haunted World of El Superbeasto.
Underneath his public persona as a well-known film producer, Wolf is very selfish, greedy, deceitful, and manipulative in nature. He likes to lie a lot and almost always takes the easy way out, thinking it can benefit him the most (hence his motto "the truth is overrated"). He is also very abusive and sarcastic towards his employees as he treats them harshly, tending to give them mean nicknames, and even fires several for stupid reasons; he even demoralizes one of his elderly employees Vince from going with his granddaughter to a birthday party. In fact, the closest thing to something Wolf genuinely cares about is bizarrely his stuffed chimp Mr. Funnybones. These traits are what led to his downfall in the end when he is exposed for stealing Jason Shepherd's paper to make his movie.
Despite being a film producer, Wolf is a very foolish, gullible and unintelligent dimwit, as he never seems to learn his lesson since he greatly underestimates Jason, despite being tricked by him multiple times. Wolf also likes to do play fights with Mr. Funnybones when he wakes up, as well as act overdramatic and childish when he goes to swim in the pool. Wolf is overall an incompetent man whose only concern is for himself and he will do anything he can to keep being rich and famous.
Wolf first appeared when Jason Shepherd (the main protagonist of the film) demands a ride to his school so that he can turn in his writing assignment to pass English class after Jason came up with a creative story idea for his writing assignment which is based on all of his lies from his past. During the ride to his school, Jason explains that he got caught by his teacher for lying about his assignment. Wolf tells him he should have made it more convincing, revealing he is also a compulsive liar, but a more professional one. After stopping at Jason's school, Wolf encourages him to keep practicing his lies and tells him he can take it from, with his word of "advice": The truth is overrated. He then yells at Jason to get out, saying he has a movie to produce. Jason heads off, not knowing he accidentally dropped his report on the limo. Upon seeing it, Wolf initially intends to call out to Jason to hand him back the paper, but upon seeing it is excellent after reading it, he decides to keep it. This puts Jason in trouble with his parents and his teacher Phyllis Caldwell (who didn't believe that Jason wrote his paper), forcing him to fail English class and undergo summer school to repeat the entire class. At the same time, Marty is in town filming Whitaker and Fowl, starring Jaleel White and a chicken.
Later on, Jason and his best friend Kaylee discover Wolf has plagiarized Jason's paper and is now planning it to turn it into a film after seeing a trailer of it. Jason is outraged at the fact that Wolf plagiarized his story, but his parents refuse to believe this due to their mistrust towards Jason over the incident. Deciding to take action and taking advantage of his parents' trip to the Grand Canyon, Jason decides to confront Wolf. He arranges himself and Kaylee to fly to Los Angeles, where Wolf is preparing for production for his movie in his studio. After having Kaylee trick Wolf's secretary Astrid Barker into letting Jason into Wolf's office, Jason tries to convince Wolf to return the stolen paper to him and call Jason's father to confess that he stole it. However, rather than doing so, Wolf purposefully burns the paper with one of his cigars and his alcohol (much to Jason's shock and anger). Wolf then calls his head of security Rocko Malone to send up two security guards to escort Jason and Kaylee out of the building.
Angered by this turn of events, Jason and Kaylee plan to inconvenience Wolf until he agrees to fess up. As they board the limo they arrived at LA in, the driver Frank Jackson is furious at them because Jason caused him to miss the person he was supposed to chauffeur. When Jason mentions he is trying to get back at Wolf, Frank's anger is quickly replaced with eagerness and he reveals to the kids that he was once a struggling rising star who auditioned for one of Wolf's films. Rather than just a simple "no", Wolf fired him, wrote LOSER on Frank’s headshot, and faxed it to every casting agent in Hollywood, torpedoing Frank's career before it even got off the ground. Frank tells Jason and Kaylee he's more than willing to help them get back at Wolf.
Jason and Kayley begin to make Wolf's life a nightmare by pulling several pranks; such as dying his skin blue upon dumping blue dye in his swimming pool, dying his hair orange by placing orange dye in his shampoo, and sticking his phone earpiece with instant Krazy glue. When Wolf sees his blue form, he screams so loud it can be heard throughout Hollywood.
The next morning, the duo trick Wolf into going to a child's birthday party (the same one Wolf rudely refused to let his stunt coordinator Vince take the day off for) instead of the house of his boss Marcus Duncan (the president of the studios) where he is beaten up by the birthday kids (mistaking him for the hired clown). Outside, Jason and Kaylee modify and rewire Wolf's car's controls. A disheveled Wolf storms out of the party, and berates his assistant Monty Kirkham for sending him to the wrong house (both unaware Jason and Kaylee tricked her into doing so in the first place). As Wolf drives off on his car, he discovers his car has been rewired (the brakes making the horn go off, the horn making the radio play "Blue" loudly, the trunk and hood repeatedly opening and closing, etc.) Just then, Frank's limo pulls up beside Wolf and the window lowers and Jason admits himself as the one responsible for Wolf's disastrous misfortunes. He tells Wolf that this whole nightmare can be over only with one simple phone call to Jason's father and he tosses a paper with his dad's number onto Wolf's lap. As the limo drives off, Wolf flies into a childish tantrum of rage.
Still struggling with his malfunctioning car, Wolf sees he's heading straight for a monster truck. He barely manages to stop in time, only to be rear-ended by an elderly lady (who he insulted earlier). The monster truck driver, called The Masher is furious and threatens Wolf for the "damage" (despite Wolf's car only hitting the tires). As the Masher climbs back into his truck, Wolf insults him sarcastically calling him "tough guy." The Masher's fury intensifies even more and he then slowly drives his truck right toward Wolf's convertible ignoring Wolf's desperate pleas of mercy. Wolf is thus forced to take a ride from a tow truck driver as the driver tows Wolf's now completely totaled car along.
Despite this turn of events, Wolf arrives at the premiere of Whitaker and Fowl, where Wolf will still not give in to Jason's demands. After a lot of people made a comment that Whitaker and Fowl failed, Wolf starts to lose support from Duncan, who states that Whitaker and Fowl cost the studio a lot of money and threatens to pull the production of Big Fat Liar. Jason then offers a deal to Wolf: he will help him out in pulling the green light for the production if he gives the call to Jason's parents and confess to them about the reported theft. Jason helps Wolf make an astounding speech that inspires Duncan to green-lit the movie production. Jason hands Wolf his father's phone number and Wolf dials his phone. However, rather than calling Jason's parents, Wolf instead betrays Jason again by calling in Malone and his security guards, who ordered Jason and Kaylee to be sent home in disgrace and that they never speak of this again.
Upset by this turn of events, Jason is about to accept defeat and is forced to call his parents to tell them the truth. Fortunately, Monty arrives to help them as she has grown tired of her boss abusive and argumentative behavior and having learned of the theft. Arranging a meeting of several employees who were treated badly by Wolf, Jason, Kaylee, and Monty concoct one final plan of revenge to expose Wolf of his true colors.
The next day, Wolf spent hours with a can of turpentine to get rid of the blue dye on his skin. He then heads to the studio to be his shooting of the movie, but his employees enact several mishaps to delay his arrival (Frank deliberately making his limo overheat, Jaleel White stranding Wolf in the desert, Vince forcing him to skydive out of his chopper, etc). As soon as Wolf finally arrives at the studio, he spots Jason, who has stolen his stuffed toy monkey Mr. Funnybones. Wolf demands his toy back but Jason taunts him to come get him and Wolf chases after Jason around the studio. During the chase, Wolf's effects expert Lester Golub activates a flood of water which splashes Wolf in a torrent of waves. Humiliated but still undeterred, Wolf continues the chase.
Wolf eventually corners Jason on a rooftop and finally recovers his toy monkey. He taunts Jason for trying to make him confess about his theft, blurting out he deliberately stole Jason's story and thinking no one has heard it. Wolf tells Jason to give it up since he will never tell the truth. However, Wolf is shocked to discover that several of his employees have recorded his confession with cameras from multiple angles, exposing him of his true colors to everyone in the studio (including Jason's parents, who were brought over to the studio by Frank). Having heard the confession and disgusted by Wolf's actions for all the trouble of stealing the idea of his movie from a 14-year-old boy, Duncan furiously fires Wolf, sending his career right down the drain.
Wolf then glares at Jason, who sincerely thanks Wolf for teaching him the importance of telling the truth. Wolf lets out a sarcastic laugh, then furiously screams to Jason that he is going to beat him up for his dismissal. He then chases after Jason, but he jumps off the building and lands safely on the inflatable stunt mat where he finally regains his parents' trust after Jason's parents discovered that Jason did all of this just to prove that he wasn't lying. When Wolf shouts that they have a film to work on, everyone starts to leave in disgust, leaving Wolf in disgrace, to which he aggressively fires all of his employees for that, only to be met with one random guy yelling back "you suck!"
With Wolf's actions exposed to the public, Wolf was forced to declare bankruptcy by selling away his assets to avoid prison for his acts of theft and copyright infringement, resulting in his studio being shut down. Despite this, the production of Big Fat Liar continues forward, but to a better direction (even Frank becomes the starring actor of the new movie after being rehired by Duncan), proving to be an instant hit in the theaters. Jason is credited for writing the original story, passed the English Exam with flying color and Jason's parents and Mrs. Caldwell are proud of him.
Meanwhile, Wolf is now reduced as a birthday clown with Mr. Funnybones as his assistant. After being paid to attend a birthday party for a boy named Darren, Wolf is shocked to discover that Darren is the son of the Masher. Recognizing Wolf through the makeup, the Masher orders Darren to show his move called the Nutcracker, and Darren charges at Wolf by striking him in the groin, causing him to groan in pain.
- Essentially, Marty Wolf serves as an allegory to the Big Bad Wolf much like Jason Shepherd is an allegory to the Shepherd from the classic tale The Boy Who Cried Wolf, which is about the importance of honesty and which are the consequences of dishonesty. Marty even makes a direct reference to it when he calls his bodyguard by referring to himself as "The Wolf".
- The blue dye was actually blue tattoo ink that was sprayed in several layers on his body occasionally throughout the day to keep it topped up. According to Paul Giamatti, it was fairly easy to apply, but was a bit more difficult to get off, particularly his feet, for some reason. They stayed blue for several months.
- In some ways, Wolf is an example of what Jason would have become if he did not learn the importance of honesty, something Jason himself even realizes at the end, thanking Marty for teaching him about the importance of honesty.
- It's possible that Jason may not have been the first person who got angry at Wolf for stealing his/her work, because when Wolf asks his bodyguard to take Jason out from his office, he refers to him as "another angry writer" who refused to leave him alone, possibly hinting that he had stolen pitchs or screenplays from others before.
- Peter MacNicol, Bradley Whitford, Jim Carrey, Joe Pesci, Willem Dafoe, Peter Greene, Alec Baldwin and James Woods were all considered for the role of Marty Wolf before Paul Giamatti was cast.
- During the moment between Marty and Jason's final confrontation at a rooftop setting, there were numerous signs that the former was being recorded for him to eventually tell the truth in front of the public about stealing the latter's "Big Fat Liar" story:
- When Marty brags to Jason that the former "wins", the latter responded confidently by saying that "it's not over", hinting a backup plan up his sleeve.
- Both characters are continuously moving in a circular path while they are confronting each other, indicating that Jason is deliberately making Marty distracted from the aforementioned backup plan.
- As Marty openly admits to Jason that the former did stole the "Big Fat Liar" paper, the latter gives a rhetorical question about the case, implying that he's giving a message to this backup plan.
- Jason sarcastically asks to Marty about the truth being "overrated", but with a relatively positive tone, signifying that the backup plan is working as expected.