Movie review: Say yes to ‘Yes Man’ |

Movie review: Say yes to ‘Yes Man’

Charlie Owen
Eagle County CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” It’s not Jim Carrey’s greatest work, but this story of a man headed for the depths of personal loneliness, but who learns how to live again thanks to one word, has a lot of heart.

In “Yes Man” Carrey plays Carl Allen, a miserable man with a recent divorce under his belt who says ‘no’ to everything. He ignores his friend’s phone calls, denies bank loans at his job and, when he’s not at work, refuses to do anything that involves interacting with other people. Instead, he spends his nights renting movies and sitting alone on his couch ” avoiding the world around him. Until one day he runs into an old friend (John Michael Higgins) who convinces him to attend a cult-like self-help seminar that will supposedly change his life.

And that it does. In a scene that showcases the ridiculousness of the self-help movement while simultaneously revealing the obvious good it does for people, Allen is repeatedly yelled at and embarrassed by the seminar’s speaker (Terence Stamp).

In the process he (and the crowd) let Allen know there is only one word he needs to say that will allow him to find happiness: Yes. Allen is challenged to answer “yes” to every question he’s faced with and makes a pact with the speaker that he will at least give it a shot.

The premise works for awhile. The more he says yes, the more bizarre his circumstances get, which leads to a lot of laughs. He has to give a homeless guy a ride to the park while watching him burn up his cell phone battery. His friends run up a huge bar tab and makes him pay for it. After kissing another guy’s girlfriend he’s asked if he wants to step outside to which he, of course, answers yes.

But all that grows old pretty quickly and even with Carrey spasming and facial-tweeking his way through the scenes, it’s not enough to keep a movie going for an hour and 45 minutes.

Thankfully someone decided to cast Zooey Deschanel as the love interest in this movie. Her charm and deviously innocent personality are enough to keep even the most jaded romance-haters from getting sick. And oddly enough, “Yes Man” is at its best when chasing the romance angle.

As with any moral fable, there’s bound to be a downside though, and eventually Allen learns there’s such a things as saying yes too much and the movie ventures into the all-too-familiar lesson-learning phase.

What makes this movie worth checking out is the great chemistry between Carrey (who is thankfully running at 7 instead of 10 here) and Deschanel. There’s also some really funny moments involving Rhys Darby (Murray from “Flight of the Conchords”) as Carrey’s supervisor who’s a little too obsessed with “Harry Potter.” It’s not genius comedy, but it works and, if nothing else, may make us realize saying yes can open more doors in our lives than it closes.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

Movie: “Yes Man.”

Rated: PG-13.

Directed by: Peyton Reed.

Starring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Terence Stamp, Rhys Darby, Danny Masterson.

2.5 stars of 4

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