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Yes Man (2008)

One word can change everything.

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12A

Most people hear “Jim Carrey” and think broad physical comedy, picturing his rubbery face morphing into its trademark funny grimace. He’s actually better than his caricature, though, and can pull off subtler stuff pretty convincingly—not that he gets much of a chance here, but it’s there. Yes Man is a decent, fluffy romantic comedy, but (don’t you judge me) it made me think a little bit about life, which is always a surprising development in a goofy little flick with a perfectly predictable outcome.

Carl Allen (Carrey) is a closed-off, unsocial divorced loan officer whose favorite pastimes seem to be renting movies and blowing off plans with his friends (Bradley Cooper and Danny Masterson). When a chance encounter with a former acquaintance (John Michael Higgins) leads him to a self-improvement seminar, Carl does a complete 180 and decides to change his life by answering everything in the affirmative. At first, this new Yes Man persona proves to ne a godsend, and Carl finds excitement and love (Zooey Deschanel) in places he’d never have bothered to look before. Yes isn’t always the right answer, though, and Carl eventually has to figure out how to make decisions and live his own life.

I’ve found that most of my favorite Carrey films seem to involve him being forced to behave in a certain way against his will—Liar, Liar, Bruce Almighty, and now Yes Man. This reminded me of a movie I would’ve loved in my youth but that, now, seems a little predictable and clichéd. It’s still enjoyable, though, and a decent addition to the Carrey canon. He gets to be slapstick-y funny, normal funny, and even a little cheesy love funny. Deschanel is also good in the girlfriend role, giving it quirk and believability that she might actually be attracted to Jim Carrey. The premise is, again, silly, but it did actually give me a chance to wonder what it would be like to say yes to everything, or just how one different decision could lead to a long, convoluted journey that could possibly end on a motorcycle. It’s no Oscar contender, but Yes Man should be enjoyed by Carrey fans, and it’s not a bad way to spend an evening if, for no other reason, it might inspire you to take flying lessons.

It's Got: A fun sense of adventure and Jim Carrey earning his keep.

It Needs: A tiny bit less cheese when it comes to the romantic climax.


Carrey fans will enjoy this lighthearted film, and it might even make you want to learn Korean or, at the very least, loan a homeless guy your phone.