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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes Man: A Review

I recently took a film financing course where I learned what investors look for when investing in a film. My top two criteria were an excellent idea and great creative talent. I probably would have invested some money in Yes Man then.

Some of you may think you have seen this movie before but I assure you that you are thinking of The Yes Men, the 2003 film in which anti-corporate activists travel from conference to conference, impersonating member of the World Trade Organization. This is a different film.

Yes Man welcomes the rubberfaced Jim Carrey back to the big screen after a hiatus and teams him up with the extremely oh-so-adorable Zooey Deschanel.

Carl Allen (Carrey) is a "no man". He never accepts invitations, ignores his phone calls, and rejects anyone applying for a loan at the bank where he works. He appears miserable and even misses his best friend's engagement party. But things are going to soon change. Carl signs up for a self-help program (think Tony Robbins on crack) based on one simple covenant: he must say yes to everything. Immediately, Carl's life changes in amazing ways. He meets a woman, learns Korean, how to fly an airplane, and even gets promoted at his job after he begins to give out loans to anybody and everybody, an act ripped right from the headlines.

An awkward encounter with his elderly neighbor, a Turkish bride, and a bridal shower later, Carl has fallen in love with Allison (Deschanel) and by the end realizes he doesn't have to say "yes" to everything. And everyone lives happily ever after. Sounds nice doesn't it?

The movie is just another one of those nicely packaged romantic comedies. There is some gross out sexual humor and I think Jim Carrey balances out his multiple personalities nicely. An excellent blend of serious Jim and crazy Jim. Zoey Deschanel is just so adorable and we even get the treat of hearing her sing. If you haven't heard her band, She and Him, go out and get the CD. It's enjoyable to listen to. I will say however that something seemed off with the chemistry between Allison and Carl. Maybe it's just difficult for me to believe Jim Carrey when he switches to romantic mode.

I was extremely delighted to see Rhys Darby in this film playing yet another boss role. You may know him as the flighty boss Murray in Flight of the Conchords. He is very funny and there is a great scene in which he and Jim Carrey have a wacky facial expression face-off. There are some other pretty funny scenes as well but I won't give those away here.

The premise of Yes Man is really good and in different hands, this movie could have been excellent. The movie is based on the book by Danny Wallace, which I am going to read now because I really enjoyed his other book, Join Me. I think one of the main reasons why I enjoyed this film is because I would consider myself a No Man and I could benefit from saying "yes" more often. Will I try it? Perhaps.

One more thought: I get invited to these All Media screenings and sometimes they will invite the public in to see the film. When they do this, and they did it last night, there is hooting and hollering, people talking back to the actors and telling them out loud what they should be doing or if they did something wrong. It's quite humorous but also really really annoying, especially when you are watching a film with heavy material. Luckily this one wasn't such a film.

So go ahead, ask me for something, ask me to come to your holiday party, ask me to carry your umbrella, ask me to take Rover for a walk in the rain...

Yes Man opens in theaters on December 19, 2008.

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