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Yes Man (2008)

by on 2011/04/06

“We’ve got a fainter down in head-removal.”

* *

Yes Man is the movie that happens when you pour the dog’s breakfast into the kitchen sink, and then blow it up.

With Jim Carrey.

Yes Man is a hot mess splattered all over hell and back. There’s a little bit of everything to (dis)like in Yes Man. Musical numbers, romance, bromance, inspirational speeches, late night break-ins, slap-stick comedy, homeland security hi-jinks, office politics, wedding planning.

The technicolour wackiness is smeared over quite a vast filmic landscape.

Yes Man made me remember once again why I detest Jim Carrey so. I had almost forgotten my deep, visceral hatred of my fellow Canadian after watching Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But it is back.

I don’t feel good about not liking Mr. Carrey and I’ve really tried to repress it. I just hate his Silly Putty face.

Yes Man is based on an interesting – if evil – idea. What if you had to say ‘yes’ to literally everything you were asked? The thought makes me feel a little queasy (it got worse I as I watched the movie). It is, however, the perfect platform for the flapping, mugging, flailing-ness of Jim Carrey.

The action begins with Carrey’s character Carl Allen, a loan officer at a bank, living the sort of life that I can really get behind. He’s content to hang out at home and watch movies. He turns down his supervisor’s invitation to an after-work party, avoids his best bro-pal played by Bradley Cooper (A-Team), rejects ridiculous small business proposals and deletes his spam e-mail.

So far I’m not seeing the problem here.

Then he meets John Michael Higgins (Mighty Wind) playing Nick, a disheveled, frenetic and strangely exuberant old friend of Carl’s. Nick tells Carl that he’s attended a seminar that’s changed his whole life. Nick then throws a rock through the bank’s window and runs away screaming, chased by security guards.

Check. I know that’s the kind of endorsement that would definitely make me hanker for a life coaching seminar seat at my local convention centre. Carl apparently felt the *exact* same way.

Terence Stamp (Superman II) is the leader of a cultish movement that embraces the word ‘yes.’ With the kind of deep philosophy one has come to expect from convention centre seminars, ‘yes’ is the key to life, the universe and everything.

“YES! Say it a million times. Then say it a million more. And the word you will have said two million times is…”

I know, I know, ‘yes.’

To be fair, if General Zod told me to say yes to everything I probably would too.

So Carl’s sold. Yes to everything. Cue the hilarity. …Hilarity? Um, hilarity? Hello?

In a series of disconnected sketches, we see Carl fumble (gibber, caper, fall) his way through the wonderful world of yes. He hooks up with an elderly neighbour, serenades a suicidal Luis Guzman, learns Korean, dates a woman from, attends a Harry Potter party. Wheeze.

He’s rewarded for his efforts with Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer). And Zooey Deschanel on a scooter is a pretty decent karmic reward, I agree.

With the exception of the cherubic Ms. Deschanel, who is always so charming it almost hurts, the only other thing to see in Yes Man is Rhys Darby (Flight of the Conchords) who plays Carl’s kindly, nerdly, desperate boss, Norm.

I realize my stance on Jim Carrey made me pre-destined to hate this movie. Perhaps his comedic appeal exists in colour spectrum I can’t see, or a sonic frequency I can’t hear.

Therefore to Yes Man I say:


Just no.

* *

104 minutes

PG-13 for Jim Carrey-esque humour that features falling down, disrespecting the elderly and wasting Zooey Deschanel’s charmingly precious time

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