Yes Man

February 26 2009 at 10:15 pm (Cinema reviews)

yesmanposterCarl Allen (Jim Carrey) has broken up with his wife and has virtually become a hermit. Unwilling to commit to anything or even come to his best friend’s engagement party, he has become a closed book. But when a friend convinces him to attend a seminar hosted by crackpot Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp), he embraces positivity and says yes to everything. Literally everything.


Such a high concept plot (based on Danny Wallace’s typically madcap autobiographical book) should be open to some disastrous results, but the film’s relentless cheer is half-assed and contrived. It’s all too convenient – most of Carl’s adventures end well with a few nasty exceptions (running out of petrol after agreeing to drive a tramp to a park, having an elderly neighbour repay him for putting up some shelves in the most wince-inducing fashion).


It’s a good fit for Carrey and reminiscent of some of his more successful films like Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty, but he seems to be getting more annoying with age. Zooey Deschanel plays the kind of trademark ‘ditzy’ girl that always shows up in films like this to – she’s so kerrayzee that she rides a scooter and carries around a Polaroid camera. The stand out is Rhys Darby (known to many as the manager in New Zealand sitcom Flight Of The Conchords) as Carl’s nauseatingly cheesy boss.


While it’s possible to see Yes Man as a critique of organised religion (when you blindly agree to everything without ever giving it any rational thought, are you absolved of responsibility? Do you cease to be human?), that’s probably being generous. It’s certainly an optimistic film, just not a very memorable one.


Rating: 2/5


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