Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Rhys Darby
Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul
Welcome Back, Jim.
Carl Allen can't say "yes."
He says "No" to everything and, as a result, his love life has crumbled, his career is at a dead end and even his friends are about to give up on him.
Then, Carl Allen learns the power of one word..."Yes!"
Will learning how to say "Yes!" to everything, and I mean everything, that life can offer become too much of a good thing?
As Carl, Jim Carrey returns to his comedic roots with much greater success than his last comedy, "Fun With Dick and Jane."
By no means is "Yes Man" a brilliant comedy. It is, however, Carrey's most entertaining, engaging and funny film in recent years and it achieves this by blending together Carrey's gifts for physical and character comedy with his increasingly visible dramatic side.
In the film, Carl (Jim Carrey) can't get over a broken relationship with Stephanie (Molly Sims, "The Benchwarmers") and says "No!" to everything and everyone including his best friend, Peter (Bradley Cooper, "The Midnight Meat Train"), and his boss, Norman (Rhys Darby, televisions "The Flight of the Conchords").
After a friend challenges him to attend a seminar on the power of "YES!" led self-help guru Terrence Bundley (Terrence Stamp, "Get Smart"), he learns the power of "Yes!" and finds himself newly promoted and newly in love with Allison (Zooey Deschanel, "The Happening").
This IS a Jim Carrey comedy. So, you know it's going to involve a fair amount of ludicrous situations, physical comedy, outlandish facial expressions and a fair amount of good will towards all.
While the screenplay by Jarrad Paul and Nicholas Stoller may suffer a tad from predictability, it benefits greatly from the comedic backgrounds of both writers and their ability to let the humor arise out of the characters rather than forced jokes and contrived setups.
Let's be honest. Sometimes, Carrey simply tries too hard and the result can be painful to watch. Having been an over-the-top comic actor in his early days, Carrey's tendency has often been to try to hit the comic home run all the time rather than recognizing that sometimes hitting a single and letting it linger is just as funny and has a more lasting impact.
Perhaps a result of his increasing dramatic range, Carrey plays his humor closer to the bone and the result is funnier, more heartfelt and more believable.
This also helps because when Carrey is being too outlandish, he runs the risk of leaving his supporting cast behind. In "Yes Man," this never happens.
As Allison, a grab life by the balls kind of gal, Zooey Deschanel perfectly blends two of her best traits as an actress...sweetness and rebel. Few actresses can appear both vulnerable and confident while also making it funny...Deschanel does it beautifully.
The rest of the supporting cast also shines including Bradley Cooper and Rhys Darby, who may very well steal Carrey's thunder for his outlandishness.
Other actors and actresses come and go with varying degrees of success. Fionnula Flanagan is hilarious as a flirtatious elderly neighbor of Carl's, while Anna Khaja, Danny Masterson and Vivian Bang also have nice moments in the film.
There are times it seems that director Peyton Reed didn't quite know where to edit the film. At nearly two hours, the film feels a good 10-15 minutes too long and, yet, there are a good 2-3 scenes that feel too short.
Tech credits for "Yes Man" are solid across the board, and the diverse soundtrack includes multiple tracks from The Eels.
"Yes Man" is a nice return to form for Jim Carrey and easily one of this holiday season's most entertaining comedies.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic