Just for Laughs
by Betty Jo Tucker
As I write this review of Yes Man, Jim Carrey stares at me from an eight-by-ten photograph perched on a shelf to my right — and signed вЂњSpank you very much!вЂќ Carrey sent this to me a few years ago in response to my letter offering him suggestions about his career. IвЂ™m glad heвЂ™s following some of my recommendations by using his extraordinary talents in amusing movies like Yes Man.
Happily, Carrey romps through this movie with his usual kinetic energy and enthusiasm. He plays Carl Allen, a formerly closed-off man who discovers that saying вЂњYesвЂќ to every opportunity brings him multiple benefits. This вЂњcarpe diemвЂќ theme serves as a showcase for CarreyвЂ™s comedy skills. When his character breaks out of his shell, he plays the guitar, sings, speaks Korean, speeds on a motorcycle, overdoses on вЂњRed Bull,вЂќ attends off-the-wall concerts, plans a wedding shower, and dresses like Harry Potter for a costume party put on by his silly fanboy boss (Rhys Darby).
Accepting the affirmative also results in our hero meeting Allison (Zooey Deschanel), a lovely young woman with strange interests, such as taking pictures of others while sheвЂ™s running. Of course, romance blossoms between these two — and itвЂ™s great fun watching them get to know each other. Carrey and Deschanel (Elf ) project a delightful screen chemistry here, and IвЂ™d like to see them in more films together. (I felt the same way about Carrey and Tea Leoni in Fun with Dick and Jane, but sorry to say, they havenвЂ™t paired up again.)
Despite Mae WestвЂ™s belief that вЂњtoo much of a good thing can be wonderful,вЂќ sometimes it can lead to serious problems. In Yes Man, thatвЂ™s exactly what happens. Will Carl learn how to be more reasonable about the opportunities he accepts? If so, how will that impact his relationship with Allison? Those two questions may make the movie sound like a downer, but donвЂ™t worry. ItвЂ™s designed strictly for laughs — and there are plenty of them in this new Carrey comedy.
While not a perfect film (for example, Fionnula Flanagan, so great in The Others, appears in a couple of crude and insulting scenes), Yes Man is highly entertaining. Besides Carrey and Deschanel, actors who add to the movieвЂ™s appeal include: Terrence Stamp (Wanted), almost scary as a self-help guru; Bradley Cooper (Wedding Crashers), suitably worried as CarlвЂ™s best friend; and the always funny John Michael Higgins (The Break-Up) as the man who introduces Carl to the вЂњYes ManвЂќ philosophy.
Director Peyton Reed (Down with Love) moves Yes Man along with a lively pace, and the screenplay by Nicholas Stoller (Fun with Dick and Jane), Jarrad Paul (TVвЂ™s Living with Fran), and Andrew MogelВ — from Danny WallaceвЂ™s book — boasts witty dialogue, especially the banter between the characters played by Carrey and Deschanel.
I consider Yes Man a welcome movie gift during this 2008 holiday season.
(Released by Warner Bros. and rated вЂњPG-13вЂќ for crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity.)
Betty Jo Tucker is a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS). SheВ teaches an online class, “The Reel Deal: Writing about Movies” for the LSS School of Writing and has published three movie-related books including CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, an amusing memoir about her life at the movies. Betty Jo serves as the editor/lead film critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosts a weekly radio show, “Movie Addict Headquarters,” for BlogTalkRadio. She also writes monthly film commentary for the Colorado Senior Beacon.В For more information, please go to www.BettyJoTucker.com ..