Jim Carrey is back to his old tricks, which makes Yes Man the comedy you don't want to miss this holiday season.
Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is a drag -- a recent divorcee in a dead-end job, who basically has one word for everything: "No!" Then one day he is dragged to one of those super positive, self-help seminars that forces him to say "Yes" to everything or face dire consequences. Thing is, it works. Need Viagra? Yes. Bungee jumping? Yes. A quick hummer by his over-sexed septuagenarian neighbor (Fionnula Flanagan)? Uh yes? Carl's newfound, agreeable self gains him more than he ever imagined. He even finds the love of his life, a kooky musician/amateur photographer named Allison (Zooey Deschanel). Of course, all this goodwill does have its consequences, and Carl learns some valuable lessons. Sound familiar? Hey, if Liar Liar worked once why not go back to the comedy well?
Jim Carrey is just his best when he's in a comedy -- even quirky comedies such as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. He is so at home in the shoes of this kind of loveable loser, who gets to live life in broad strokes. He knows how to play for big laughs without going overboard. So from now on, Jim, just say NO to thrillers like The Number 23. In the top notch supporting cast, Sasha Alexander is a deadpan standout as the Persian wife he orders online, and veteran Terence Stamp is a hoot as the self-help guru who gets Carrey into his predicament in the first place. Also very amusing are his best buddies, played by Bradley Cooper and a hilarious Danny Masterson. As his bonkers New Zealand-esque boss, Flight of the Concord's Rhys Darby is a riot as Carl's boss. Deschanel is kind of the "straight man" here, but she's handles it well, if not memorably.
Peyton Reed is a fairly reliable comedy director with mostly hits (Bring It On, The Break-Up). He knows Yes Man exists as a vehicle for the Jim Carrey brand of comedy and lets Carrey hog the spotlight. The movie lives or dies on what Carrey can deliver and on that scale Yes Man is a hit. There are some bits that fall flat and might have been cut, but for all its broad humor, Reed manages to keep it grounded and in simple scenes between Carrey and Deschanel, the movie even borders on sweet. In a season of dark drama on screen -- and off -- the antidote could well be this dumb but fun time killer. So, is a little comic relief worth the $10 in the economic downturn? We say, YES!
Hollywood.com rated this film 3 stars.