Monday 4 May 2009

Movie Review: Yes Man (2008)

Yes Man occupies the harmless terrain at the intersection of comedy, romance, and lessons-in-life-as-taught-by-Hollywood. It gives Jim Carrey ample opportunities to display his comedic talent, and thankfully he stays relatively in control.

Carl Allen (Carrey) is a loan approval officer at a local bank. Since his wife left him he has become negative and depressed, avoiding all social interactions and life experiences. After he skips out on his friend's engagement party, he is convinced to attend a self-help Yes! seminar where he commits to turning his life around by saying Yes to every single opportunity that comes his way.

This of course leads to a boy-meets-girl, boy-loves-girl, boy almost-loses girl convoluted romance with a sweet artist (Zooey Deschanel); convulted success at work; and mis-adventures involving learning the Korean language; a mail-order bride from Iran; an unplanned trip to Nebraska and unwanted attention from the FBI.

The film, directed by Peyton Reed and loosely based on a true story, moves briskly, and never dwells too much after making its funny point in every scene. Carrey and the supporting cast are game, with good comic timing and general avoidance of excess. Rhys Darby as Carl's boss at the bank particularly stands out, playing a seemingly happy character with his own personality issues.

There is nothing dramatically surprising or overwhelming about Yes Man. The comedy is moderate, the romance is mellow, and the characters are refreshingly almost normal as far as movies like this go. For fans of light vanilla ice-cream with just a light dusting of chocolate sprinkles, Yes Man is satisfying.

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