Sunday, April 28, 2013

Movie Review: Yes Man

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Decent story
Cons: Few true laughs
The Bottom Line:
Yes, I did watch it
Yes, movie is average
Yes, wanted to like

Yes Man is Okay, But Jim Carrey Can Be Funnier

I used to have a love/hate relationship with Jim Carrey.  If I saw one of his movies, I usually found myself laughing pretty hard or inspired by the drama.  But I have avoided most of his movies because the previews looked dumb.  Something about Yes Man appealed to me, so I went to see it.  And I had my first luke warm reaction to him.

When Carl's (Jim Carrey) marriage fell apart, so did his life.  Even though it's been two years, he still can't move on.  So he sits at home and avoids his friends.  Not that Peter (Bradley Cooper) and Rooney (Danny Masterson) let him drop out of life completely.  Carl works at a bank where he denies every loan that comes across his desk.

Things changes dramatically when he decides to attend a conference run by Terrence Bundley (Terrence Stamp).  Singled out of the crowd, Carl is put on the spot and agrees to a new contract with himself, to say "Yes" to everything that comes his way.

And almost immediately it begins working for him as he meets Allison (Zooey Deschanel).  The two begin a romance very quickly.  But can Carl continue his winning streak by saying "Yes" to everything?

This is the part where I condemn the movie with faint praise.

Billed as a comedy, there were several laugh out loud moments.  Emphasis on the several.  I was ready to laugh hard at the entire movie, and that just didn't happen.  I had a smile on my face for the entire thing, and several of the jokes make my smile bigger, but that's about it.

Let's face it, the movie is pretty predictable.  Only one or two things caught me by surprise.  Even more importantly, all the jokes were predictable.  That's the main reason I wasn't laughing so hard for the entire movie.  If I see a joke coming from a ways away, I'm not as likely to laugh as I am if you surprise me.  (Then again, I have been known to laugh at an expected joke if the punch line really delivers.  Few of them did here.)

On the other hand, I did find the story enjoyable.  I identified with Carl, possibly a little too much.  I wanted him to get out of his rut and get a life.  As a result, I was rooting for him through out the film.  And the movie made me think about how I am living my own life.  Pretty heady stuff from a comedy.

Since the movie is rated PG-13, I expected the language and sexual nature of some of the jokes.  But there were a couple in particular that I found out of line and squirm inducing.

The acting in the movie was quite good.  Jim Carrey manages to provide over the top humor and yet capture the more serious moments, too.  I love seeing Zooey Deschanel act so was thrilled to find out she was in this film.  I will admit I am a Bradley Cooper fan thanks to his days on Alias, so seeing him again was a treat.  And yes, even the cast I wasn't already attached to did a good job.

So the problem with the movie really comes down to the writing.  I really do think there was promise in the premise for some genuine comedy, but it got stuck somewhere along the way and never truly developed into what it could have been.  It's disappointing that they never found the comedy gold they were looking for.

Is Yes Man worth your time?  If you are a fan of someone in the cast, then yes.  But you can probably wait to rent the DVD.

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