The Story: Carl (Jim Carrey) is a man who avoids everything in life, so much so that he’s divorced and his friends have had it with him. When a kooky friend from his past invites him to a seminar where the concept is saying yes to everything Carl is skeptical. By saying yes to every request he meets and falls for the independent Allison (Zooey Deschanel) and learns to appreciate the life he’s been missing.
Pros: By looking at the trailers for this it really looks like a one-note type of film, or a straight rip-off of Liar, Liar. I was pleasantly surprised to watch Jim Carrey back doing what he does best, wacky comedy, while being immersed in this great story. Yes Man is just a great escape from all the holiday madness, there’s no big Oscar type performances, just a fun story that makes you laugh. What’s even greater is that not everything has been ruined by the ad campaign; some of the best bits have been unspoiled. The situations may be far fetched at times, like Jim Carrey talking down a suicide victim by singing Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper,” but that’s where all the humor comes from: how Carrey responds to these situations. You see both sides of the whole “say yes” theory from being taken advantage of by his friends to finally living life and experiencing new things. The character of Carl can be anyone who is afraid of new things, no matter how big or small so that makes his situations seem relatable, not to mention that Carrey makes the character extremely loveable. There are just some truly hilarious moments aside from those mentioned above and one of the best is the use of Journey’s “Separate Ways.” The big finale scene utilizes the song and it made me laugh for twenty minutes, along with singing the song all day. The movie has a brisk pace and the humor never lags completely, if the film slows it picks right back up to allow the audience to laugh. The romance between Allison and Carl can slow the film down but it’s incredibly sweet, and not the sickeningly sweet kind either which I really enjoyed. This is a perfect film to take the family to after a holiday dinner to just sit back and enjoy.
Cons: The film has the requisite comedy drag in the middle as the relationship is developed between Allison and Carl. There are also incredibly formulaic moments, especially towards the end. None of this diminished how much I loved the movie but it is the only negative.
Acting: Everyone just looks like they’re having so much fun in this film and it comes through in the performances. I have loved Carrey’s foray into dramatic films but I adored his return to comedy in this. Yes the character can come off like his role in Liar, Liar but Carl is not a jerk by any means. Carrey does make some wacky faces but deep down he plays the character straight, a man who just wants to experience life. He never goes too over-the-top or becomes hammy which is always a fine line with him. He’s just a loveable goof and that’s why he seems perfectly suited with Deschanel. It was hard to watch Zooey Deschanel after her horrible turn in The Happening but she really redeems herself here. She’s incredibly light and happy and she’s more than able to play off Carrey. It’s amazing that both of them have heavy musical numbers in here, both incredibly different, and it’s hilarious to watch either of them sing. The side characters are also hilarious, the standout being Rhys Darby as Carl’s boss Norman. From his crazy themed parties to his “discoveries” of words already in common usage he steals his scenes a lot of the time. The weakest links have to be Carl’s friends played by Bradley Cooper and Danny Masterson. The way they utterly take advantage of Carl makes them the least likeable in the bunch and they never truly redeem themselves at the end.
Overall: Yes Man is a hilarious film with some great actors having fun. If you get a break from the holidays and the after Christmas sales take this movie in, you’ll be saying yes to how good it is. I give it a 4/5.