Starring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper
Director: Peyton Reed
Running Time: 104 mins
Yes Man is an American film about a bitter man who takes on the challenge to say yes to every opportunity that comes his way for an entire year.
Sometimes all you need is a good chance to smile. Whilst Yes Man may not be the most raucously funny comedy of all time, its positive outlook throughout goes a long way to making it as enjoyable as it is. It’s easy-going, upbeat, and features a whole host of energetic performances. Sometimes cheesier than it needs to be, it’s not an enthralling watch, but on the whole, I found it tough to avoid enjoying Yes Man’s relentless happiness.
Of course, it’s not entirely gleeful from the start. For the first twenty minutes, we follow Jim Carrey’s character before he’s exposed to the magic of the word ‘yes’. Although it doesn’t feature the great positiveness as the following two acts, a lot of the best laughs of the whole movie come in the first period.
Carrey is hugely entertaining in his more bitter role, and the awkward dynamic between him and his friends who he constantly tries to avoid makes for some great moments, whilst he also shows off some of his classic physical comedy, adding a few more good laughs. The best jokes may die down a bit following that, but it’s a great opening to the movie, giving you a strong footing to embrace the rest of the story.
And that’s important, because the turning point where Carrey’s character changes from bitter to ultra-positive feels painfully cheesy. It’s handled surprisingly well, and the scene is pretty entertaining, but it still takes a lot of convincing to get round to the fact that this guy’s entire outlook on life has transformed so abruptly, however the entertaining opening to the film does mean that you’re more open to the idea, which was good to see.
However, the best part about the film is the way that it brings across its message of saying yes to new opportunities. It’s not stupid, and does ridicule Carrey’s character for saying yes to everything, however as the film unfolds, and we see the way that this man’s entire life is changing, largely for the better, because of his new positive outlook, it makes you feel genuinely happy, without feeling as if it’s a preposterous and idiotic premise.
Honestly, as silly as it may seem at first, I was really surprised by how Yes Man managed to get me to smile. There are some good laughs early on thanks to a collection of energetic performances, but the upbeat vibe of the film’s second and final acts is surely enough to even get the biggest cynics to break a smile, and that’s why I’m giving this a 7.2 overall.