Friday, January 24, 2014

Yes Man (2008) [PG-13] ***

Liar, Liar meets Failure to Launch in a frenetically-paced, but poorly-written star vehicle that gives Jim Carrey yet another opportunity to display his consummate skills as a comedic actor. Carrey plays Carl Allen, a bank loan officer who has lived the life of a hermit ever since his wife divorced him. Shutting himself off from life experiences, his response to any opportunity is a resounding NO!. And then, encouraged by a friend, Carl enrolls in a self-help program taught by motivational guru Terrence Bundley (Terrence Stamp). Bundley's philosophy is that, to break out of our old self-imposed boundaries, we must simply say YES! to everything and anything that life offers us.

At first reluctant, Carl eventually embraces Bundley's philosophy, and finds that his new attitude transforms his life in wonderful and unexpected ways, offering him new adventures and bringing positivity into his life. Carl takes guitar lessons, learns to fly an airplane, learns the Korean language, joins a program to find a Persian bride over the internet, helps his buddy's fiancée plan her bridal shower, and takes up rollerblading, motorcycles and bungee-jumping (a risky stunt Jim Carrey performs himself). Carl also meets and falls in love with the quirky Allison (Zooey Deschanel). Eventually, though he discovers that uncritically saying YES! to everything can have negative consequences, and that he needs to have a filtering system.

Directed by Peyton Reed (The Break-Up) and based on the comedic memoir of the same name, written by Danny WallaceYes Man is quite funny, and features good romantic chemistry between Carrey and Deschanel. There's an unnecessary airport security subplot, and some of the scenes could have been better written so the supporting characters better contributed to the story flow. This film doesn't have the character depth of other Jim Carrey films like The Truman Show, The Majestic or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, however the 47-year-old Carrey is clearly at the top of his game, and this film is a must-see for his fans. For viewers, the film does pose an interesting question... how would our lives change if we began to say YES! more often? 

Labels: comedy, romance    
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 46/100    
Tomatometer (critics=45, viewers=72)    

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