Is Ben Lyons learning his lesson?
I am forced to ask that question from time to time, especially after watching an episode of At the Movies which is not quite so dreadful as the previous week. The case in point this week is with Hannah Montana: The Movie. He said that the kids will love it, but the rest of us can "Skip it."
Now, compare this to his review of High School Musical 3--he said you should "Rent it," because your kids are going to force you to see it anyway, "Even though it may be cringe inducing for the rest of us".
Also, compare this to his review of The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience--he said you should "See it" because it is cheaper than going to a real Jonas Brothers concert, and deserves more than a "Rent it" because "you can't watch it in 3D on television."
So I guess the real lesson here is that maybe Montana should have been shot in 3D.
But has Ben learned his lesson? Probably not--sometimes it is hard to tell when Ben is being "better" or "worse," rather than just inconsistent. Take his "3 to See," on which he includes Adventureland, Lymelife, and Sugar. Missing is the movie that both Ben's called the best movie of the year so far, Sin Nombre. In its place is Adventureland, a movie that Ben previously said was on the verge of a "Rent it" but was just pushed over the edge by two very funny side characters.
But he continues to find the need to justify his recommendation this week saying, "Going into this movie, I expected it to be a lot funnier, because it comes from the director of Superbad, Greg Mottola. But its intent was to be more heartfelt than hilarious." Actually, coming out of this movie he still felt that way, and continued to say so months later, but in the last two weeks he has changed his tune.
Lyons, it seems, feels an eternal debt of gratitude toward people like Greg Mottola who put him in their movies. Anybody else? Well, there is also Anna Faris--remember that Ben had a non-speaking role in The House Bunny. Faris gets singled out for praise by Lyons for her role in Observe and Report this week--which he said is otherwise worth skipping.
Now, is this nepotism or just an honest appraisal? Who knows--Ben's past behavior makes it hard to tell. That is exactly why getting too cozy with celebrities is a problem for critics. But I'll leave you with the following video so that you can make up your own mind about Lyons, Faris, and The House Bunny:
I cannot imagine why Richard Roeper refused to work with this guy . . .