Starring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper
Directed by: Peyton Reed
Written by: Nicholas Stoller (screenplay), Jarrad Paul (screenplay), Andrew Mogel (screenplay), and Danny Wallace (book)
Runtime: 104 mins
DVD Release: April, 2009
The 90s’ favorite rubber man is back in Yes Man, a comedy about a down-and-out loser convinced that the only way to find a girlfriend, get a better job, and generally improve his mediocre life is to say “yes” to every opportunity that comes his way. The result of such a plot, ridiculous as it may be, is a fairly funny little flick that reminds us in part why we loved Jim Carrey so much back in the glory days of Ace Ventura. However, the film’s writing and pacing is generally slower than we expect from a film of this type, meaning it’s unlikely to revive Carrey’s once incredible career.
Carrey is Carl Allen, a divorced loan approver (or in this case, denier) with a serious hate on for adventure and spontaneity. Since the abrupt end of his six month marriage to Stephanie (Molly Sims), Carl has become something of a recluse, a hermit afraid to ask out women, party with his friends, or take chances on loan applications. All of the above means that he spends most nights alone in his depressing brown apartment, ignoring his less and less active cellphone while watching Blockbuster fare.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=2746&w=m[/img]This sad reality seems fine with everyone until Carl misses his best friend’s bachelor party. Wounded BFF Peter (Bradley Cooper) then lashes out at his pathetic pal, telling Carl that he’ll soon have nothing and no one left if he doesn’t change his pitiful ways. Our depressed protagonist then runs into an old friend full of life (albeit empty on common sense) who’s simply brimming with pleasure now that he’s discovered the power of “Yes,” a word that can’t help but open new doors and expand realities. A desperate Carl finally breaks down and follows Nick to a “Yes” convention, where the former is targeted by cultesque “YES!” leader Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp) who convinces Carl to answer “yes” to every opportunity presenting itself in the future.
It’s a ludicrous idea, to say the least. Hardly maintainable (perhaps the psychiatric equivalent of the Aktin’s Diet), the plan and the movie’s plot is fairly predictable – saying “yes” leads Carl to awkward but somewhat surprisingly beneficial circumstances and he meets the quirky Allison (Zooey Deschanel), who is impressed by Carl’s smashing disregard for thought and reason.
Eventually Carl’s luck runs out, but not for reasons that make much sense. He’s turfed by Allison when she discovers his new life plan and assumes it’s the only reason he’d want to hang out with her or watch her off-the-wall punk band perform. In other words, it seems this beautiful woman has a lower self esteem than the old Carl ever did.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=2747&w=m[/img]Yes Man has its moments, but the plot’s predictability means it doesn’t stray far from the traditional comedic formula. Sad dude changes way, meets girl, loses girl, questions way, gets girl back, all is well. Several better comedies sharing the same routine immediately jump to mind (The Wedding Singer, Knocked Up, Old School, Wedding Crashers), each providing larger laughs more of the time. Because the premise of this film is so predictable, it doesn’t take us long to figure out each scene seconds after they begin. That dulls the laughs.
Still, there are some decent chuckles here. In fact, you can credit Zooey Deschanel for a surprising number of them; in fact, one scene involving the plucky couple at a skeet shooting course in Lincoln, Nebraska is particularly hilarious. It’s nice to see Deschanel up her stock after the dreadful The Happening last year.
Finally, this is a mostly uplifting film starring likeable stars/characters. A big reason for Carrey’s success several years ago was that seven-inch smile, used best, arguably, in The Truman Show, a hybrid drama-comedy that helped launch Carrey into Hollywood’s stratosphere. Sadly, this film isn’t nearly that good, but the Canadian actor’s ability to steal a scene can be seen from time to time. Parents will be happy with the PG-13 rating, and can trust that this one is most certainly less raunchy than the other comedies I mentioned above.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=2744&w=m[/img]The film is a city-based comedy shot mostly at night, meaning it probably won’t wow viewers whether they pick up the DVD or Blu-ray copies for their home theaters. There are few landscape shots that suck viewers in, but there are enough colors here to keep things cheery, comedic. That is, aside from Carl’s depressing brown-guy apartment motif, which is appropriate given the plot’s early moments.
No explosions, whizzing bullets, or hard-driving rock anthems, but some decent quirky music from cult favorite The Eels and Allison’s in-movie band (known on the soundtrack as Munchausen By Proxy featuring Zooey Deschanel). It’s no Dumb and Dumber soundtrack, but the music definitely represents the film’s sound highlight.
Special Features :1star:
If you like Allison’s quirky band in the movie, you’ll be pleased to find several music videos on the DVD. There’s also your standard “gag reel” and additional/deleted scenes, but lacks the traditional commentary track. Pretty weak, if you ask me.
Overall, Yes Man is a goofy movie that Carrey fans, many of whom will be all grown up by now, should enjoy. It’s an unexpectedly wholesome comedy that breaks with the comedian’s more raunchy traditions (see Dumb and Dumber, Me, Myself and Irene). Sadly, that means the film is a bit more predictable than most of us would have expected. Yes Man will not bring Jim Carrey back to the big screen in a big way, but it should provide decent enough laughs to keep the whole family chuckling.