Sorry to all my readers, that is to say "reader" about the delay in getting my first review out. Rather than waste time with excuses let's get this blog a-going!
When I saw the ads for "Yes, Man" I thought that merging Jim Carey's brand of physical comedy with the premise of saying "Yes" to everything could be a recipe for a train-wreck of hilariousness. This evidenced from Carey's work as Fire Marshall Bill on "In Living Color", and feature films like "Mask", "Ace Ventura" and "Liar, Liar". BTW, I laugh every time I think of the bathroom scene in that last movie, which will cover in a future review. Anyway, I had high hopes for this movie for some mindless fun and I finally found time to go with one of my nephews while in Texas.
Yes, Man tries to deal with the idea of how often we run from the pain of a broken commitment by simply being non-committal to anything. Thus is the case of Carl, played by Jim Carey. We see a guy whose heart was broken and to cope he says "No" to everything, except being home alone watching movies, eating and sleeping. His friends try to wrest him from his self-imposed solitary existence, but with little success. Finally, Carl (Jim Carey) runs into an old friend who says his life changed for the better when he began to say "Yes!" Carl goes to a seminar with the friend and is challenged by the leader (played by Terence Stamp) to say "Yes" to every opportunity he faces over the next thirty days, no matter what. Of course, this leads to insanity, but a lesson at the end.
There are glimmers of Carey's crazy physical humor, but just when you think it's going to get crazy, the script abruptly stops him. I was confused with the director's use of Carey, since he's clearly a physical talent, but it seemed like the director didn't want him to "take over" the story trying to be told. While I can understand this worry perhaps it would have been better dealt with by casting another actor, instead of Jim Carey. I went into the theater expecting one thing and left feeling like Carey was underused and yet the story didn't stick out either. Note to director's and screenwriters....GIVE JIM CAREY THE FREEDOM TO "RIFF" AND THEREBY CREATE! Every movie that they do this with just works. (see "Bruce Almighty" and "Liar, Liar", in which Carey was crazy funny, yet the story was poignant)
A glimmering bright spot in "Yes, Man" was Zooey Deschanel, who plays the part of an eccentric person who also has been hurt, but she deals with it by doing her own thing, whether driving scooters in a crazed way, singing in an eccentric band or leading a group of running photographers. BTW, the band she was the lead singer of reminded me of a mixture of "The B-52's" and Shirley Manson of "Garbage", except for the fact that Zooey's fan base was a whopping five people. Anyway, I've always enjoyed Zooey in a variety of movies, including Elf, where she was the substance to Will Ferrell's craziness. Unfortunately, the director and screenwriter didn't use the same dynamic between the characters written for Carey and Deschanel. Where there was great opportunity the result was "blah".
The screenplay struggled in finding an identity. The result is a tepid movie that had good parts, but seemed to labor more than necessary. This wasn't a bad movie, but wasn't great either, sort of like drinking lukewarm water on a hot day. As I mentioned before I think casting Carey for the part as it was written was a mistake and perhaps would have been better played by Owen Wilson. This movie had a chance to be a great one like Bruce Almighty, but was hurt by the screenplay, which wasn't really funny or serious.
The story is about committing again after being hurt. It's a good story and one that I'd recommend, but wait to say "Yes" to this movie until it comes out on DVD.