Cast: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Terrence Stamp, Fionulla Flanagan; Director: Peyton Reed; Producers: Richard D. Zanuck, David Heyman,; Screenwriters: Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul; Music: Mark Everette, Lyle Workman; Editor: Craig Alpert; Genre: Comedy; Cinematography: Robert D. Yeoman; Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures; Location: Los Angeles, California, USA; Running Time: 104 min.;
Technical Assessment: 3
Moral Assessment: 3
CINEMA Rating: For viewers 14 and above
Two years after breaking up with his girlfriend, Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is still in the throes of a depression which makes him indifferent to everything, including overtures from his friends to join them again. Working as a loans officer at a bank, he has become the ultimate naysayer so that he rejects all loan applications as well as invitations of his boss who is eager to make friends. But one day, he attends a self-help “Say Yes” seminar. The charismatic speaker and yes guru persuades him to change his attitude, make a “covenant” with himself and seize all opportunities to say “yes” to all requests. Allen is now convinced that not saying “yes” will have dire consequences. As a result of this brainwashing, Allen says yes to all invitations and experiences results, some pleasant (like learning to play the guitar and to fly a plane) and some untoward ones like accommodating a tramp’s request to be brought to a leisure park in the dead of night and finds himself stranded with no cell phone nor gasoline and loses money too. On this night he meets Allison (Zooey Deschanel), a beautiful free spirit, engaged in activities that seem unusual to him. Attracted to her, Allen joyfully says “yes” to her invitations, joins her in many “yescapades” and forges a relationship with her. Bu Allison soon doubts Allen’s feelings for her when she learns that he says yes without really wanting to. Will Allen and Allison get to reconcile? Will Allen continue to be a “yes” man?
Yes Man gets most of its odd ideas from a memoir written by Danny Wallace. In addition, most viewers of a 1997 film Liar Liar (which also stars Jim Carrey) think that Yes Man is like a similar parallel story in reverse for in the previous film, Carrey habitually lies and is forced by circumstances to tell the truth for 24 hours. The present film’s concept of saying yes all the time is probably intended to lead to a series of funny incidents but these are only sporadically humorous. Some attempts at humor seem forced and even downright vulgar. Like the encounter of Carl with his sex-crazed elderly neighbor. This crude sexual joke is not explicitly shown but it leaves a bad taste in the mouth, just the same. That bar brawl with a drunk Carl is perhaps intended to be funny but it is grim_. This slapstick comedy features the usual elastic facial contortions and queer physical humor associated with the clownish Jim Carrey. He carries the film through but the humor here seems stale and lacks freshness.
Yes Man shows how indiscriminately saying either “yes” or “no” can have negative effects in a person’s life. In the early part of the movie, Carl’s saying “no” to all requests and invitations from friends even if they are sensible and well-meaning deepens his depression and makes him a recluse, devoid of all involvements with others. We all need some interaction with people to function well and to live a normal happy life. On the other hand, saying “yes” always without much thought can be just as disastrous, though hilarious at times as some situations in the movie shows. Nobody would take us up on our word if we say everything lightly like what happened when Allison doubted Carl’s love. That would have been another crisis in Carl’s life. We should mean what we say and mean it from the heart.