To combat this, the overwhelmed police force has implemented a new policy:
Jason Shepherd is a year-old inveterate liar who spends most of his time devising elaborate yarns to keep himself out of trouble with his parents and teachers. When Jason's parents refuse to believe their son's outlandish tale, the youngster heads out to Hollywood to confront Wolf and make him verify his story.
When Wolf refuses to do this, Jason concocts an elaborate scheme to make Wolf's life a living hell until he relents and helps make things right back home.
First, it shows a youngster getting the rare opportunity of turning a major studio backlot into his own personal playground the film sometimes feels like a minute commercial for Universal Studios' behind-the-scenes tour. Second, it feeds the desire we all have to watch the tables being turned on a certified rascal.
And, third, like any good fantasy for children, it puts the kids in a position of power over the adult world. Jason and his pretty cohort, Kaylee, get to call the shots and pull the strings that eventually get the grownups to pay attention and listen to them.
In fact, the best parts of the film occur near the beginning when Jason and his adventures stay connected to the real world.
Once he gets to Hollywood, the film loses a bit of its edge. The cleverness and wit of the film's opening stretches give way to overwrought plot mechanics and over-the-top slapstick. The film has a great deal of undeniable energy, but subtlety can be a virtue as well and we miss that sense of sly fun that defines the film's ambiance early on.
Muniz is one child actor I will miss when he grows too old to still play these parts. Amanda Byrnes is equally likable as Jason's conspiratorial companion, Kaylee. And even though Paul Giamatti seems to be doing a Jim Carrey impersonation through large sections of the film, this fine comic actor hits heights of magnificent manic madness as the put-upon, hissable villain of the piece.
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