Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Terence Stamp
Directed By Peyton Reed
Release date: December 19, 2008
Growing up in the ’90s, I watched the rise of Jim Carrey. From his humble beginnings on the sketch comedy In Living Color (favorite character Fire Marshall Bill), to his break out role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Carrey became a star right before everyone’s eyes. After that came string of hit movies (Liar, Liar, Bruce Almighty, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and even a few duds (The Majestic, The Number 23). Carrey has since moved on to family oriented films and dramedies, but one cannot deny the comedic talent or overall likability of Carrey as an actor. While not a perfect film, Yes Man is Carrey’s return to slapstick comedy and fans will be pleasantly surprised that Carrey has not lost a step.
Carrey play Carl Allen, a divorced loan officer. Carl’s life is pretty much a downer, from watching videos from Blockbuster in his spare time to avoiding social gatherings. When he realizes his behavior may lead to a lonely existence, he is puts his life in the hands of a Tony Robbins-eque guru Terrence Bundley (General Zod aka Terence Stamp) who encourages him to say “yes” to anything and everything.
Based on the book by Danny Wallace of the same name, Yes Man does have its moments and is a pretty enjoyable movie. Carrey is still in good comedic form and does really well in carrying the film. He does his usual pratfalls, contorts his face in the way he only can and fans of Carrey will be pleased with the performance. Those who never did like Carrey to begin with or expect a multi-layered performance like The Truman Show will be sadly disappointed. Carrey pretty much just hams it up in the flick, not that that is a bad thing. His co-stars are also enjoyable to watch and do share a lot of chemistry with Carrey.
There is his best bud Peter (Bradley Cooper), who you may remember as Will Tippin on the TV show Alias, and Allison (Zooey Deschanel), Carrey’s love interest in the film. Deschanel is my personal favorite actress and once again plays the carefree and adventurous girl to perfection. Yes, she is a lot younger than Carrey and boy does it show in some scene, but they do have their share of chemistry. Plus, when Carrey displays the funny, he is oddly youthful making it not so hard to believe that Allison would at least give Carl a chance.
The film is far from perfect though. The premise, a man basically forced to say “Yes” is basically a rehash of Carrey’s previous hit Liar, Liar where he was forced to tell the truth for a whole day. The whole plot involving Terence Stamp is also a big too cheeky for my taste and made the film a little too unrealistic. I think the film would have benefited had it followed the plot of Wallace’s book, where the protagonist just made promise to himself to say “Yes” to everything as a social experiment. It would have worked just as well and would have grounded the film in reality. These problems aside, the film does still work and is enjoyable for what it is.
I am most pleased with the soundtrack for this movie. Any movie that starts and ends with “Separate Ways” by Journey is tops in my book. Plus, the films give Deschanel a chance to display her singing talents. She not only sings in the movie, solo and with Carrey in a duet of “Can’t Buy Me Love,” but also appears on the movie soundtrack. This more than makes up for the faults of the movie as well as the one musical mistake in the film (Note to all filmmakers: Making your stars sing any Third Eyed Blind song is a no-no).
Overall, Yes Man is a flawed film but carried nicely by Carrey. The film is light, enjoyable and the cast works pretty well together. Fans of Carrey will love this film, flaws and all and those not too picky with the particulars of the film will also enjoy the film. If you’re looking for a fun and light movie, say yes to Yes Man.