Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini

Yes Man

Yes Man
Jim Carrey, Bradley Cooper, Terence Stamp, Rhys Darby, Fionnula Flanagan, Zooey Deschanel and Luis Guzman

Rated: PG-13 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: December 19, 2008 Released by: Warner Brothers

This dim, contrived comedy is perhaps only highlighted by Jim Carrey's attributes as a contortionist.

Yes Man shamelessly takes a high concept and goes nowhere as the direction of Peyton Reed (see Bring It On or Down With Love) demonstrates.

This variation on the Carrey hit Liar Liar (where his lawyer had a spell put on him by his son) has the star back in zany mode after The Number 23 as Carl Allen.

The loan officer isn't into socializing after getting divorced, and is risking losing his friends, like Peter, a rather bland Bradley Cooper (in the upcoming rom-com He's Just Not That Into You).

A tip to attend a seminar led by a motivational speaker and guru (done in deadpan fashion by the very proper Terence Stamp of Valkyrie) turns this dull guy into embracing new challenges and opportunities. He'll become chummy with his British boss (Rhys Darby) who throws theme parties for movies like Harry Potter and 300, while showing attention for much older neighbor Tillie (Fionnula Flanagan). And, he strikes up a relationship with Allison (a pert Zooey Deschanel of The Happening) who is part avant-garde rocker, fitness trainer and photographer. But, Carl starts to wake up to the idea that maybe saying "yes" isn't always as good as saying no.

The writers mold Danny Wallace's nonfiction book in a way that makes the dominant, titular idea stand out so much that the humor and romance is slapped together in a corny, screwball way. Some will lap up the scene where Carl confronts a suicidal guy (an uncredited Luis Guzman) and later when he leaves a hospital with exposed backside to go after Allison. In these down economic times all the new loan applications approved doesn't really go over in any engaging way.

This positive message movie will elicit laughter mostly from the extra physical effort of Carrey. Regretfully, there really is no touch from the rest of the cast, even the usually appealling Deschanel, whose quirkiness only goes so far with someone almost old enough to be her father. Stamp and a scene-stealing Darby offer contrast, but hardly much else in a tale that unwittingly hardly underplays its importance. Here's a case of something recognizable (even for some filmgoers Carl sleeping on the couch recalls a better, atypical Carrey picture), but too sketchy and brazen for its own good. Uninspired and ham-fisted in nearly every department it's hard to say "yes" to this Man.

  Frank Chris Jim Nina Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
Yes Man        C                  C 

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