22 December 2008
Maybe, Man. Maybe
I received two free passes for the press screening of this film. I went in with expectations on par with Fun with Dick and Jane. I was expecting neither the next Dumb & Dumber nor the next Number 23. Well, Yes Man fit in the middle, but fell short of Dick and Jane. Yes Man suffered from a common problem that has begun to plague the comedy genre: a funny joke going on for too long to the point it is no longer funny.
The film opens with Carl Allen, played by Jim Carrey, being a negative person who never tries anything new. He is happy in his boring mundane life. He is also a loan advisor at a bank. An old friend comes across him and tells him about this YES seminar that he attended and tells Carl to do the same. So, Carl makes his way to the seminar. This is the first time a joke goes on too long. Terrence Stamp plays the founder of the YES seminar, named Terrence. Anyway, Terrence makes Carl make a covenant to say “Yes” to everything. This leads to some fun. He meets a homeless guy, then Allison, played by funny Zooey Deschanel. She is a free spirit, and like Carl’s yes attitude. Things start to look up for Carl.
Then he says “No” for the first time after this covenant. This leads to another joke that goes on too long. It involves his elderly neighbor Tillie and her payment for his help hanging shelves. Now, afraid to say “No,” things start to get a little crazy and out of hand. He helps a would-be jumper in yet another joke that goes on past its funniness.
In the end, Carl sees that it is okay to say no sometimes. His life is changed, he has changed people around him, and all is well. There was nothing spectacular to see here. It was based on a book by Danny Wallace, that I am sure is better. Some books are just not meant to be translated into film. Yes Man was the directed by the lackluster director of The Break-Up and Bring It On. If you feel like you have to see this film, look for bit roles by Alias’ Bradley Cooper, That 70’s Show’s Danny Masterson, Las Vegas’ Molly Simms, and Flight of the Conchords’ Rhys Darby. Verdict: Yes Man was not as good as I thought it would be, but it was not as bad as it could have been. I wouldn’t waste the time or money in the theaters, but it might be worth the rent. Or if you need a break from family this holiday season, this could work for you.