Monday, August 3, 2009

At the Movies: Forgetting Ben Lyons

We got a fairly uneventful episode of At the Movies this week, but next week's episode promises the review of the highly unanticipated G.I Joe movie. Recent evidence suggests that Ben will play it safe and pan the movie, but it might be fun to see what sort of mental gymnastics he might pull to defend it.

Summing up his review of In the Loop, Lyons says:

Lyons: Stay in the loop on good movies this summer and "See" In the Loop.

Oh, please don't. One Gene Shalit is at least one too many.

At the end of the show, the Bens gives their DVD picks inspired by the newly released Funny People:

Lyons: The Cable Guy is a bizarre and twisted character driven comedy that still remains one of Apatow's best.

Now, I liked The Cable Guy, but it was produced by Apatow, who neither wrote nor directed. It doesn't even feature the standard Apatow ensemble--like Apatow-produced films such as Superbad or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. It's really a Ben Stiller/Jim Carrey movie. And it's not as good as any of the "real" Apatow movies, which are just as--or perhaps more--crude but also more grown-up and intelligent.

If he really wanted a blast from the Apatow-ian past, he might have recommended something a bit more obscure like the DVD for Freaks and Geeks or Undeclared. This pick just seems a bit poorly thought through, which leads to the somewhat hyperbolic "one of Apatow's best" comments.


Anonymous said...

Scott, didn't Apatow write the Cable Guy, but lose writing credit when the studio tinkered with his story?

Scott said...

I wrote that based on IMDB, which only gives him a producing credit. Looking further, it looks like he was responsible for re-writing the original script, so my statement that he did not write it turns out to have been mistaken. But I stand by everything else.

Mark D'Anna said...

Ben Lyons has apparently been stopped, according to the NY Times:

Anonymous said...

apatow movies more grown up and intelligent than the cable guy?

they are funny, but grown-up? maybe I read it wrong.

other than that, nice post.

Scott said...

In spite of all the crude humor in 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and Funny People, they are all much more mature than Cable Guy. The adults in those movies deal with real adult issues and real adult emotions, even though many of them like to act like children.

Anonymous said...

believe it or not, jim carrey's character in the cable guy is pretty real - as in there are crazies like that everywhere.

some are better at hiding it though.

i'm not sure i buy your argument. his movies tend to be on the crude frat boy side of humour -- nothing wrong with that because he does it well.

i just wouldn't call it mature. freaks and geeks, despite being about teens was thought provoking and mature at times, i think.