First he couldn't tell a lie. Now with Yes Man
Jim Carrey's unable to say no, even when it's obviously the right answer. Continuing the trend, next Carrey will be starring in a movie in which he's completely lost his free will. If Yes Man
's plot sounds a little too similar to Liar, Liar
, take heart – at least there's no supremely cute, supremely annoying kid in Yes Man
. And this comedy's of a much more romantic vein than Liar, Liar
's hitting theaters amidst a bunch of serious award-hogging films - a smart counterprogramming move on the part of Warner Bros. And it's entering theaters at a time when comedies fare better than dramas. Having that going for it is going to be necessary as Carrey's not the box office draw he used to be. 2003's Bruce Almighty
brought in $85 million, 2004's Lemony Snicket's
did $30 million over its opening weekend, while 2005's Fun with Dick and Jane
only managed $23 million. Carrey went dramatic in 2007 for The Number 23
, and that didn't work out well for the actor or the studio. With his return to physical comedy, Carrey's hoping to reverse the downward trend.
Carl (Carrey) is not over his divorce by a long shot. He's in mourning over the demise of his marriage and has become a video store regular whose idea of a good time is to veg out on his couch watching a DVD. Even his best friends Peter (the cute, sympathetic and supportive one played by Bradley Cooper) and Rooney (the horndog played by Danny Masterson) can hardly even guilt him into leaving his house.
Bradley Cooper, Jim Carrey and Danny Masterson in 'Yes Man.'© Warner Bros Pictures
Carl's work life parallels his home life in that it's equally predictable and boring. Carl's worked in a bank for five years, and it's not even the job he set out to do. And when his boss, Norman (Rhys Darby), an affable Harry Potter
-loving goofball, delivers the news that once again he's been passed over for promotion, Carl drops into an even deeper funk. Stepping outside the bank for a breath of fresh air, he's approached by a guy he hasn't seen in years who tells him he needs to attend a seminar on the power of 'yes'.
Carl attends the seminar, takes the preaching to heart, and walks away believing he needs to say yes to everything. Giving homeless people car rides, learning Korean, learning to play the guitar, etc., etc., etc... If it's possible to say yes, he does. And, cue the violin music, that means he says yes to life and love once again. Awww.
The CastJim Carrey's
elastic face stretches into hilarious positions in his return to broad comedy. Even though he's getting older – aren't we all? – Carrey's still got that boyish charm that helps ease films over the rough spots. Plus, Carrey gets props for doing a lot of his own stunts in Yes Man
, including bungee jumping
off of a bridge. The fact it's still fun to watch Carrey make a fool of himself bodes well for his return to the comedy genre.
co-stars as a musician/jogging photographer who comes to Carl's rescue and stays involved in his life. And, thankfully, the 20 year age difference between she and Carrey isn't really a factor in the film. Deschanel's adorable and as Carrey's new love, the off-beat Allison, she's someone you can really root for as a romantic interest. And once again, just like she did in Elf
, Deschanel gets to show off her beautiful singing voice. Seriously, when is she just going to star in a musical?
The rest of the supporting cast are all above par. In particular, feature film newcomer Darby, whose comic timing is as good as Carrey's has ever been, is a real scene-stealing standout.
The Bottom Line
Of the two similar Carrey films – Liar, Liar
and Yes Man
– Liar, Liar
has a higher percentage of jokes that hit their mark. Yes Man
's got the more intriguing premise, but it feels somehow incomplete. Yes Man
comes up short because it doesn't get as outrageous as it could.
I'm really on the fence about this one… It's a little disappointing in that the comedy is reined in when just letting Carrey continue doing the dumbest things imaginable might have generated more laughs. There were only two or three big laugh-out-loud moments in the entire film, which makes it tough to recommend to anyone looking for strictly light-hearted fun.
Zooey Deschanel and Jim Carrey in 'Yes Man.'© Warner Bros Pictures
On the other hand, Yes Man
has a message to it and it does take itself too seriously at times, but it's not a total throw away effort. Watching Carrey get goofy again is entertaining, and the chemistry between he and Deschanel is something special. So, should you say yes to Yes Man
? I'd say the answer is a definite maybe. That's as clear as mud, right? If you're a Carrey fan, you'll probably enjoy Yes Man
. You might even walk away saying yes a little more often.
Yes Man was directed by Peyton Reed and is rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity.
Theatrical Release Date: December 19, 2008