Yes Man (2008)


            When it comes to outright make you laugh, gut busting comedy, Jim Carrey has delivered pretty consistently for the majority of his prestigious career.  Ace Ventura: Pet Detective; The Mask; Me, Myself, and Irene, even the dark comedy The Cable Guy still makes me “LOL”.  Some of his more serious roles like 23, Man on the Moon, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind showed him trying to branch out and explore different roles.  Even with mixed reviews for some of those films, he has showed that regardless of what you may think, the guy can act.  Yes Man has Carrey in his element once again; comedy and straight up silliness.

            Carrey plays Carl Allen, a bank loan agent who has been divorced for a while now and doesn’t get out very much.  In fact, his friends Peter (Bradley Cooper) and Rooney (Danny Masterson) have to actually get upset at him for him to even consider the possibility of leaving his home to try to enjoy himself. Obviously still quite upset over losing his wife, Stephanie (Molly Sims), Carl refuses to do anything; turning down any and every offer to stray outside of his average and mundane lifestyle.  A chance encounter with an old acquaintance, Nick (John Michael Higgins), leads him to attend a self help seminar created by “Yes” guru, Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp).  The main objective of the seminar is get people to open up their minds and lives by saying the word “Yes” more than “No”.  Bundley forces Carl into a covenant that has him saying “Yes” to everything and oh yeah, everything.  His first test is when a homeless man asks him for a ride, to use his phone and then for his money.  Since he has to say yes, Carl tentatively obliges.

            The rest of the film has Carl getting involved in practically every activity and event there is from guitar and flying lessons to learning Korean and going bungee jumping.  He goes on to approve every loan application that comes his way no matter how risky it may seem which in turn helps to further his banking career. It also leads him to find Allison (Zooey Deschanel), a carefree yet caring aspiring musician who Carl would have easily passed up in his normal sense of thinking.  Allison finds herself falling for Carl but is hesitant to try to get serious with him due to her own past relationship demons.  To add to her dismay, she inadvertently learns of Carl’s divorce and “Yes” covenant which leads her question his true feelings for her.  Of course this puts Carl in a debate with himself whether to continue his “Yes” quest or to modify his life to be normal again.

            Jim Carrey does a great job as a character whose entire life changes midway through the movie.  I love Carl’s sarcasm through the beginning of the movie before he attends the “Yes” seminar; I think we can all say we know someone like that.  Either a friend, relative or co-worker or even ourselves.  When you see him begin branch out and do things, he feel happy for him and is glad that he is living life.  Zooey Deschanel holds her own as Carl’s love interest who although finds herself falling for him exhibits her own independence.  Bradley Cooper who seems to prefer the supporting actor role as opposed to the lead doesn’t have a major presence in this film but does bring the voice of reason and reality for his friend Carl.

           I enjoyed this film which has some of the trademark silliness that is Jim Carrey along with romance and a look at life in general.  Directed by Peyton Reed and loosely based on a book of the same name by author Danny Wallace, who actually chose to say “Yes” to everything for an entire year of his life, Yes Man has many laughs and makes you think, “I wonder if I said yes more, what could I do?”  Of course, if you said yes to everything, there would be someone who shows up to try to take advantage of your new found outlook on life.  In the film, Carrey’s character didn’t have to contend with too many outrageous requests; the biggest probably having to be planning his best friends’ fiancée’s bridal shower which is pretty out of character for a guy to plan something like that.  For those of us who don’t really get out much, saying yes might be an opening to adding another aspect to life with some modification to the story in the film of course.  We do live in real life and unfortunately not movie life.  I give Yes Man “3 yes is the new no’s out of 5”.  “Hey… I’m just saying ‘yes’ to life… cuz… you gotta say ‘yes’ to life… I’m in a secret covenant… that sounded naughty”!

2 thoughts on “Yes Man (2008)”

  1. I agree with you. I wasn’t expecting much from this film based on reviews and the trailer. But, as a big Jim Carrey fan I was inclined to view it. I was surprised to find myself laughing consistently throughout the film. It was funnier than I had ever expected it to be. Besides the comedy, it had a great underlying message to live your life. Don’t let it pass you by. Take opportunities. You won’t regret it.

  2. I am not a huge Jim carey fan I don’t mind him but I wouldn’t just watch a movie because of him. I did not have great expectations for this movie, but I agree with you completely on your review this movie. It gave you a lot to think about in your own life and it had me laughing through out. Great review

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