Directed by Peyton Reed | Year 2008
Based on the autobiographic bestseller written by Danny Wallace, Yes Man is exactly the type of movie you expect. If you are a Jim Carrey hater, this movie is worse than the noisy-popcorn-munching person sitting next to you in the theater. But for those who can tolerate even the slightest of Jim Carrey, this is a movie to savor. Including Zooey Deschanel and Bradley Cooper, Yes Man is filled with refreshing jokes that will speak to all audiences.
Jim Carrey plays the uninspiring white-collar worker Carl Allen who always keeps up to a tight schedule and doesn’t let other events influence his way of living. He’s taken to a convention against his will and later on strikes a deal with a life guru: Carl must only use the word ‘yes’ in his replies to questions. As you can guess already, this change in Carl’s attitude creates some hilarious situations. For example, he takes flying lessons and starts studying the Korean language.
While a lot of jokes fly by, the movie often takes a serious stance towards (social) issues as well. Can a person always say ‘yes’? And does a ‘yes’ automatically mean a ‘no’? What is more important: honesty or happiness? Think about it, but not for too long because fortunately these moments with a slightly serious tone also don’t last long.
The writing is plain and sentimental at the same time. It makes you think about your own life which is special for a comedy. As in many other movies starring Jim Carrey, the movie profoundly makes use of turning points for its main character. A sudden change in Carl’s life sets a chain of other events in motion as they all will lead to an enlightening conclusion.
The rest of the cast does a pretty good job in supporting Carrey throughout the scenes so as to create a fun storyline. Naturally, the other characters are flat as a board except for Allison (Zooey Deschanel) who is the happy motorcyclist that accidentally meets Carl. I totally loved her in this movie and I’m so happy to see her in New Girl (a comedy show). She is sweet and charming as ever in Yes Man. Her on-screen chemistry with Carrey is what makes this movie worth your time. They make a great on-screen couple, you know.
Unlike many other comedies, Yes Man rapidly alternates from scenes which makes you wonder what will happen next. This little surprise and the total improbability in events is not annoying at all as it fits very well with Jim Carrey’s grotesque style. Not having read the original novel, it’s difficult to compare the two works but something tells me Peyton Reed stuck to the original story since I didn’t find any obvious errors.
Of course, some may argue that the movie contained too many clichés — but quite frankly, even if you think that’s the case, it gives you a good laugh. In my case, Jim Carrey did it for me. What a genius.
Therefore, do yourself a favor especially if you are feeling down: get some friends over, watch and have fun. Yes Man was, despite its running time of 104 minutes, a worthy romantic comedy I’ve watched in a long time.