Yes Man – Funny but not thoughtful!
Based on a book by Danny Wallace that manages to be entertaining and thoughtful, Yes Man stars Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel and Terence Stamp. If the trailers were anything to go by, you’d think that Yes Man was just another Liar Liar. Clearly by casting Carrey in the lead role, that is the natural progression of things. He tends to give each of his films a personal edge which can often leave them feeling like another movie called “Jim Carrey 19” or whatever.
After a lifetime of saying “no” to all questions, a guy follows a programme that urges their audience to say “yes” to everything.
I’m not much of a Jim Carrey fan. Despite wowing us all in Ace Ventura and Me, Myself & Irene (and the like), his comical abilities seem to have been lost in the last few years. That is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed some of his serious roles. I appreciated his performance in The Number 23 and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. With these last films he has shown the world that underneath that rubber-faced exterior lays an actor at heart. It is odd then that after revealing to the world that “yes” Jim Carrey can act, he goes straight back into playing the fool again.
I had hoped that Yes Man would be amusing (which it was) along with inspirational. The thoughtfulness of the book was lost in this adaptation. I would accept that very little remains from the book except the initial concept (and in the film, the catalyst of such was due to a cult-style meeting). However what could have made this an excellent film was the inclusion of how each person watching it could take home a message of advice for their lives. Much like a Tony Robbins 7-day step program, Yes Man could have made you think about your life. Instead it merely accepts that it is a silly comedy with no real underlying message. This is ultimately a great shame as so very much more could have been made of it.
The comedy scenes in it though are well thought out from the awkwardly friendless boss to a hilarious drunkard bar fight. Zooey Deschanel plays kooky very well (as she has proven time and time again) and you don’t tend to give the 22 year age difference between Deschanel and Carrey much notice. Terence Stamp’s few scenes are amusing enough with Carrey’s long suffering friends getting a few laughs in.
Overall Yes Man seems like a waste of a good opportunity. Of course it was going to make us all laugh, but it should have made us all think as well. In this regard, it failed. As a silly jaunt through one man’s life whilst he makes a fool of himself it succeeds…and very well.
Whilst this entertained in droves, and made the audience and myself laugh greatly, you leave the cinema feeling let down by the writers. If I had thought that Jim Carrey was incapable of serious acting then this complaint would be a moot point. However, I know that Carrey can act. The writers and director should have used this ability and tweaked our emotions harder. Perhaps in 5 years time we can expect a remake to do a better job.
Rating: 4 out of 5