Ryan Merriman. Before he was Ian Thomas on “Pretty Little Liars” or the love interest in a Hallmark movie, he was first Ben Cooper on “Smart House.” He was also my own personal crush for years… in fact, the only reason I stopped crushing on him was because now whenever I see him, I can think about is how creepy Ian Thomas is. Anyway, Ben Cooper is a thirteen-year-old science wiz who loves basketball and contests. He enters a contest to win a smart house for his family so that they can continue on with their happy lives without needed to work so hard. At only thirteen, Ben has to take on many of the responsibilities of a parent so that his dad can work. Instead of trying out for the basketball team like any thirteen-year-old who love basketball, he fixes meals, babysits his little sister, and helps her with her homework.
Ben and his family actually do win the house and at first it actually does make everything much easier for the Cooper’s to live an effortless life. Pat, the house, even throws a party for Ben and his sister, Angie. The party is a great ice breaker for Ben and the girl he’s crushing on. She confesses that she really likes him. Then Pat, the house, teaches the school bully a lesson so that he’ll leave Ben alone.
After a while, Pat freaks out and tries to lock to Coopers inside. She freaks out because Ben tampers with the settings so that she’ll be more like a mother. Ben doesn’t want a mother because he doesn’t want Angie or their father to forget about their mother. He is so opposed to a new mother that when his dad starts to show interest in Sarah, Pat’s creator, he acts very rudely toward her in hopes that she won’t stick around. Ben even tells Angie that they don’t need a new mom; they’re perfect the way that they are.
After Pat freaks out, Ben realizes that it might be best to have a real mom, so he welcomes Sarah with open arms when she tries to help shut Pat down and then reboot her. He also accepts her with open arms when she and his dad show that they want to continue on with their relationship. In a movie far ahead of its time, Smart House teaches us sometimes being more advanced doesn’t actually advance your life more.