Carl Allen (Carrey) is in a rut and live seems to be going nowhere really fast. While at a strange motivation seminar, Carl is manipulated into making a covenant with himself to say “Yes” to everything that comes his way for the next 12 months. As we can well imagine something’s that come his way deserve a “No” but get a “Yes” and the comedy unfolds.
I know what you’re thinking… right from the get go this sounds a little similar to Liar Liar. A guy gets in trouble because he is forced to answer people a certain way but in the process he learns what is most important in life and therefore becomes a better man. Well you’d be right! There is that similarity in the style of this film; however “Yes Man” covers a little wider ground for someone like Jim Carrey, a little more depth in character and the opportunity to push himself a little wider with his character development. With a similar level of serious drama blended into this comedy, we see a man who has all but given up on life because his ex-wife gave up on him. He is scared of taking a chance and so he is closed to all the possibility around him. Now I will point out at this stage that the basic premise and title of this film comes from a book of the same name as written by the British humourist Danny Wallace, whose book “Yes Man” was a biographical telling of his choice to say yes to everything for a year. From what I have read the title and the premise are pretty much the only things that have stayed the same within the movie and most if not all of the events that unfold within the movie are not in the book. But I digress…
A chance meeting with an old friend ends up dragging him into a setting that he would normally have steered clear of. As begins to say yes to opportunities that he faces, he is lead on a journey that begins to bring him back to life. To a place where he starts to grow and even connect with those around him, even to the extent of opening up to new people that he meets. Enter Allison (Deschanel), a somewhat experimental musician with an air of spontaneity. As the yes’s keep coming so too does the crazy antics and situations that Carl finds himself within.
Now one of the major draw cards for me was the addition to the cast of Rhys Darby as Norman. Norman is Carl’s boss and shares similar characteristics with Darby’s other alter ego, Murray the hapless Band Manager from “Flight of the Conchords”. In “Yes Man” there is a lot of wonderful dialogue between Carrey and Darby. My favourite being the scene where they are making faces at each other and it ends up with a scary looking Carrey with copious quantities of cello tape wrapped around his head. (You will need to see this to completely understand)
Over all the jokes are very funny and the slapstick action is very satisfying to behold. I even read that Carrey even did some of his own stunts including the Bungy Jump. There was one scene in the movie where Carrey turns and walks straight into a waitress and ends up flat on his back. Rumour has it that he kind of executed the stunt badly and ended up landing so hard that he cracked 3 ribs in the process.
I haven’t laughed this hard in a movie for quite a long time so my advice is that if you expect a Jim Carrey movie you won’t be disappointed.
Reviewed by: Jon E Clist
Releases: 1st January 2009
Rating: M – Offensive language & Sexual references
Running time: 105 minutes
Starring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Rhys Darby & a cameo from Louis Guzman
Director: Peyton Reed