Sunday, December 28, 2008

Movie Review: Yes Man.

I’ll go see almost any movie Jim Carrey makes. He’s one of those actors, for me, that even when the movie’s bad, I enjoy watching him. His latest, “Yes Man,” is not the funniest movie of the year, or of the season, or even the funniest movie I saw last week. But it’s innocuous and light-hearted, and I could even go out on a limb and call it “fun.”

Our hero is Carl Allen (Carrey), a middle-aged stick-in-the-mud who works were any middle-aged stick-in-the-mud would work these days: in a bank as a loan officer. People come to him with all sorts of bizarre small-business schemes, which he then has to deny, which sets up where our guy is now: he’s a pro at saying no. But we also meet his friends, Peter (Bradley Cooper) and Rooney (Danny Masterson) and learn that Carl is always turning them down, ignoring their repeated phone calls and requests to “hang out.”

The catalyst of the movie happens when Carl runs into an old friend named Nick (John Michael Higgins). Nick convinces Carl to go to a “Yes” seminar, headed by Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp). It’s there that Carl sees the error of his ways, and makes a decision to say yes to everything from here on out. And now, the ball is rolling. All sorts of mildly humorous things happen, including a visit to a bar where the band “Munchausen By Proxy,” (bizarre, experimental, psychedelic) is playing a gig, and where we meet our leading lady, Allison (Zooey Deschanel), who happens to be the lead singer of the band. Carl and Allison meet, things happen, and so goes the movie.

Of course, every odd situation must fix itself, thereby this whole saying-yes-to-everything can’t last, and in perhaps the weirdest and weakest part of the movie, Carl gets caught up in the Yes Man scheme and things come crashing down around him, but look! He’s so much better for the experience and by golly, he has learned something.

The script was passable and funny at parts, although I have to say with anyone other than Carrey at the helm, the movie would have been pretty bad. Deschanel was great, as usual. My favorite character was probably Norman, Carl’s manager at the bank, played by Rhys Darby. Think Ricky Gervais in the British version of “The Office.” Most surprising in the movie was Molly Simms, who I remember from some show on MTV where she was very much a deer in headlights. In “Yes Man,” she plays Carl’s ex-wife, and she’s not that bad. I was shocked.

This movie was not smart, not thought-provoking, and will not go down as a “great” comedy. It was a light-hearted chance at escape, and I’m all for that every once in a while. It’s not one to rush out and go see, but if you see it on HBO in several months, it’s worth a TiVo.

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