Jim Carrey, no longer garnering the box office clout he once had, must be getting delusional in his old age: he forgot that he made Yes Man over a decade earlier in the form of Liar Liar. Then again, originality - or, more appropriately, lack of it - has never scared Hollywood, so we get this rehash about a man who is forced to say "yes" to everything, no matter how absurd.
Carrey plays Carl Allen, a man who has digressed from taking risks or hanging out with friends or doing anything more fun than sitting alone at home at night watching a DVD. A perennial "no man," Carl's best friends have practically given up on him. But, one day, he gets dragged to a motivational presentation where he ends up making a covenant to say "yes" to everything. Suddenly, Carl's a new man - adventurous, fun and outgoing - and it even leads him to strike up a new relationship with a girl (Zooey Deschanel).
I have a few friends like Carl (all married - by coincidence, I'm sure) and I was even like him once, though not nearly as bad. It's a sad state to be in, and can result in the loss of friends. So, I liked the concept of Yes Man - except for the fact that it's a close retreading to the much funnier concept of a man unable to lie. Liar Liar is one of my favorite Jim Carrey movies, so that's a dangerous road to go down.
Thankfully, Yes Man is funny enough to get by. Overall, there are a good number of laughs and the movie is consistently entertaining. It's good to see Jim Carrey back at what he does best: being zany and off the wall. He and Deschanel have surprisingly good chemistry with one another, and their relationship is subsequently believable.
Still, Yes Man is no Liar Liar. Most of the movie evokes simple chuckles, not belly laughter. Carrey is funny, but not as funny as back in his heyday. In other words, Yes Man is just a less-funny version of Liar Liar.
Regardless, if you like Jim Carrey, you should like Yes Man. The movie does fall on its weight at the end, as it becomes a rather typical romantic comedy with all the superficial arguments and boring fluff one would expect. In fact, the last twenty minutes are pretty bad. Nevertheless, the rest of the movie is a fitting comedy - surprisingly entertaining and enjoyable.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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