God, I miss Blockbuster.
Not the best Jim Carrey, but it’s serviceable. He’s always been great at playing down on his luck characters so this is a nice fit for him. The premise itself never goes too wild, but most of the scenarios presented allow Jim Carrey to ham it up for the audience’s amusement. Carrey’s always been a great physical performer and it’s fun to watch him contort his face and body to deliver some excellent slapstick. It was a pleasant surprise to see Bradley Cooper and Danny Masterson in this movie and while all three play off each other very well, it’s ultimately Carrey’s relationship with Zooey Deschanel that’s the most enjoyable.
It takes a few minutes to settle in to their relationship given the age gap, but it manages to work because of the chemistry between Carrey and Deschanel. There’s a cute contrast between both characters where Carrey starts the film as unadventurous and Deschanel is a thrill seeker; she’s just as much a catalyst to Carrey’s arc as the “Yes!” seminar he attends at the start of the film. The sequences between both characters play off like every other romcom, but it doesn’t matter how generic something is if the execution is at least serviceable and all of their moments together are sweet and quirky.
Even with a unique premise, Yes Man is essentially just another paint by numbers romcom. This is not to say that the film is bad, because it most certainly isn’t, but you can see everything that’s going to happen from a mile away. As soon as the quirky girl shows up, you can tell they’re going to fall in love, break up, and then get back together by the end of the movie. There’s so much you can do with the material but Yes Man is rather tame and has no real consequences to Jim Carrey’s choices until it directly affects his relationship with Zooey Deschanel. On top of that, it seems like a waste to have Terrence Stamp show up for two sequences.
Terrence Stamp is the guru of the “Yes!” seminar and he’s the one who forces Jim Carrey to say “yes” to every situation that presents itself. Carrey accepts this covenant under the assumption that he’ll have bad luck if he ever says “no” to a situation but by the end, it turns out that everything Terrence Stamp said was essentially a scam. It would have been interesting if Yes Man touched on themes of cult followings and why people follow them, but it’s more interested in playing it safe as opposed to even slightly challenging the audience.
It’s nothing you haven’t seen before and it’s not Jim Carrey’s best performance, but it’s mindless entertainment that makes great use of Jim Carrey’s zany personality. Bradley Cooper isn’t featured much in the film, but he’s great as the best friend who gives Carrey the tough love he needs. It’s cute, it’s funny, and it’ll also make you feel good by the end. As someone who likes watching movies on the weekends, Yes Man inspired me to say “yes” to life and to experience it as it comes at you.