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Pattaya Daily News

29 January 2009 :: 13:01:26 pm 22203

Yes Man: Dragged Out And Dull

The insuperable problem with Yes Man is that Jim Carrey comes across as deigning and suffering even when he is supposed to be enjoying himself. Unfortunately, this describes not only his sour-and-never-sweet character, but Carrey the actor, who seems not only unaccomplished here but confusingly uninvolved.?
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Loosely based on the memoir by British author Danny Wallace about a miniature philosophical disquisition that happened to be much funnier, Yes Man is reminiscent of Carrey’s equally bad comedies. It deals with forced behavior modification, and features a character who moves from despicability to affability through a battery of compulsory and increasingly far-more-than-expected tests that reveal his deficiency and show the way to make amends.

The film’s premise is way too simple. An antisocial Carl (Carrey) irons out to improve his tedious life by saying “yes” to every question. After making such a commitment, he worries that saying “no” will attract immediate bad karma. Almost all of his impulsive affirmatives, even to dangerous projects and ones that take advantage of his generosity, eventually bring about good outcomes, making the story a bizarre hybrid of Liar Liar and Pay It Forward. Carl runs out of gas after reluctantly agreeing to give a filthy bum a lift, but manages to meet cheerfully peculiar scooter girl Allison (Zooey Deschanel) when he hikes to the gas station. Instead of flopping on the couch to watch rented DVDs every night, Carl learns Korean and how to play the guitar, skills which come in handy later. Approving every nutty loan request at the bank where he works pays off in a promotion, because all of his clients turn out to be so good about making their payments.


Almost everything director Peyton Reed does in Yes Man movie clearly does not help. Yes Man could have been a breezy, high-concept romp, but he finds the way to make it feel dragged out and dull. Certainly, agreeing to acts of kindness and to the idea of trying new things works, but Carl comes off as a miserably and contemptibly inadequate joker when he says “yes” to tasks such as doing laundry for someone who knows the superstitious Carl won’t say “no.” Carl’s boss at the bank (Rhys Darby) is a screamingly nerdish mock whose affectedly humorous attempts at silliness are exactly not how the character should have been played.

Instead of a weirdly immature Austin Powers impersonator, the boss should have been a no-nonsense authority figure representing the ordinary reality that Carl is trying to escape. Carl’s eerie courtship of Allison at times makes him seem like a slightly psychotic stalker. Breaking into the Hollywood Bowl after hours with Allison for a romantic night under the stars is probably the exception. However, jokingly telling her that if she got famous as a singer Carl would become her biggest fan and kill her is too disturbing.

Deschanel is the only bright spot in the story, playing a sweetly derisive free spirit who is good at looking adorable. Whether teaching a course in photography-while-jogging or fronting a quirky band called Munchausen by Proxy, she’s always effortlessly charming.

Like those films that start strong but wane toward the end, sleazy Yes Man actually gets worse as it goes along. It is more interested in making you laugh than changing your life or providing intuitive understanding into the human condition, Yes Man may brim anything but cheerfulness and optimism are not among them. It makes you wonder if it is a practical idea at all to say “yes” to anything.

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Lifestyle

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