Warner Brothers Films
Directed by Peyton Reed
Starring Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Terrence Stamp, John Michael Higgins, Rhys Darby and Fionnula Flanagan
2 1/2 stars
Jim Carrey’s latest film is a bit of a retread over some of his earlier efforts, particularly “Liar, Liar.” Both films put the rubber-faced funnyman into a series of awkward situations by forcing him to act against his own self-interest. Both films have plenty of funny moments before trotting out a generic life lesson and a crowd-friendly happy ending. Okay, so we won’t be awarding points for originality, but sometimes the familiar can be just fine, and the bottom line is that “Yes Man” proves to be an enjoyable holiday diversion.
Carrey plays a sad sack loan officer; a guy who spends his days saying “no” to people. He’s miserable and ripe for change, which he gets when he attends a self-help seminar and a new age guru (Terrence Stamp) persuades him to say “yes” whenever life offers him a new opportunity. Becoming a “Yes Man” causes our hero to do things that no sane person would ever consider, and as you might guess, it gives Carrey ample opportunity to mug his way through some amusing situations.
More notably, saying “yes” puts our hero on a path where he meets a quirky young woman, played with deadpan brilliance by Zooey Deschanel. In a bit of a surprise, “Yes Man” turns into a romantic comedy, with Deschanel matching Carrey oddball moment for oddball moment. Despite a nearly 10-year age difference, the two make an appealing couple. You may not fully buy into the romantic sparks, but the humorous banter between the two leads is more than witty enough to salvage “Yes Man.”
My guess is that your enjoyment of “Yes Man” will depend upon your preconceptions of Jim Carrey as a movie comedian. Audiences who are just hoping for a simple holiday diversion will be satisfied, while those looking for cutting-edge comedy or even the manic Jim Carrey of the 1990s will be somewhat disappointed. In the spirit of the holidays, I’ll side with the mainstream and say that I enjoyed the film. It’s not Carrey’s greatest effort, and certainly not destined to become a comedy classic, but it was a perfect diversion after a day of fighting the shoppers up at the mall. Did I need a break from the holiday stress? Yes, man, and “Yes Man” proved to be just what the doctor ordered.
Movie reviews by Sean, “The Movie Guy,” are published bi-weekly in “The Port Arthur News” and weekly on KFDM-TV. Sean welcomes your comments via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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