After years of seemingly staying away from movies for a few years (aside from 2007’s The Number 23 which pleased no one…well except for me, but that’s another story), Jim Carrey returned to theaters with two efforts in 2008 and both received very different critical reactions. His headlining of the Horton Hears a Who! adaptation helped make it one of the top rated animated outings of the year. Unfortunately that luck would eventually fail when Yes Man arrived in theaters. Critics chalked it up as another generic comedy in Carrey’s belt, while fans…well, fans really couldn’t do much other than that either. Still, despite a weak critical reception, the film went on to gross triple its production budget worldwide, proving that even negative reviews can’t keep a Carrey vehicle down.
Carl Allen has stumbled across a way to shake free of post-divorce blues and a dead-end job: embrace life and say yes to everything. Working every funny bone in his nimble body and every muscle in his hilariously mobile face, Jim Carrey plays Carl in a YEScapade about opening up to life’s possibilities especially when those possibilities include romance with an intriguing, free-spirited musician (Zooey Deschanel). From the director of The Break-Up comes an invitation to discover the comedy power of yes.
I filled in my expectations of this film by presuming it was simply a redux of Liar, Liar and…really, I wasn’t entirely wrong. It was the same type of schtick for a Carrey film: man gains some ability and because of it hilarity ensues. Unlike Liar, Liar, however, Yes Man has a sweeter side to it, with a little more emphasis being placed on the love angle of the film rather than a poop joke of some sort (of which there were strangely none in this film…I can’t tell if I’m disappointed or not). There was the usual absurdity that a Carrey movie comes with, but really for the most part this film had a lot more heart than I expected.
To start with Carrey’s character here is a bit of a social recluse, withdrawing from society after his marriage apparently ended in a big mess. This sets the tone for his character in the film, but even with the sudden upswing his life takes due to the “Yes” conference he attends, the character shift is still quite drastic. But it’s Jim Carrey so his immediate flashing of a smile isn’t exactly foreign enough to make you question it too much. Really, what helps separate this film and make it feel a bit more unique in nature is the inclusion of Zooey Deschanel, who adds a certain quirk to the film that otherwise wouldn’t be there.
And really, that’s where the film shines. There are few laugh out loud moments that you expect from a film like this (there is a pretty messed up one that I had a hard time erm…swallowing at first [for lack of a better term], but other than that there isn’t much to make you guffaw uncontrollably), but the whole time I couldn’t help but keep a smile on my face. It really had a lot more of a romance angle to it than I originally expected, which helped keep it from feeling like a complete retread of other similar comedies. Really it’s nothing terribly unique or original in any way, but the film is really just an entertaining way to expend an hour and forty minutes of your time. It could really be spent on worse comedies, and Jim Carrey continues to prove that while he may use the same kind of obnoxious style of comedy in a lot of his films, it still works and is still entertaining.
Overall Yes Man has nothing going for it other than the fact it’s a very simple and entertaining film. It has some charm to it as well, thanks in part to the female lead being stronger than they usually are in Carrey’s flicks. Granted, the tired angle of the girl getting upset over the main characters shtick that makes the movie and not wanting to talk to him could have been avoided if the lead simply came out and told the love interest about how he came to meet her, but then the movie would have no ending or wrap-up. So it’s hard to fault it even on those terms and as such the film comes Recommended if you’re a Carrey fan; again, nothing new here, but still worth seeing.
Warner has done it again—they’ve managed to bring out a fairly entertaining cover art for the film as the exterior high-gloss slipcover and, underneath, display the original poster art for the film. Rear art is the same in both cases, but it’s nice that they’re not just reprinting the same image again for the slipcover, as I find that really quite useless. The film auto-starts (and with the DD5.1 track set as default, so switch that over if you can decode TrueHD) and the menu is simple, but they’ve done a nice little stylized box setup for the menu, rather than a huge block and no image behind it. Still nothing really impressive, but still more effort than Warner has shown in the past for their main menus.
Video arrives in the form of a VC-1 encoded 2.4:1 1080p encoded transfer and there’s really nothing to fault here. The color levels are solid, detail is good and it’s what you’d expect from a newly produced film. Occasionally close-ups get a bit waxy looking, but for the most part the transfer looks fine. The audio arrives in the aforementioned DD5.1 and TrueHD 5.1 mixes, with the TrueHD mix obviously taking priority. Music and sound effects are what you find in the surround channels for the most part, with the dialogue being delivered front and center with crystal clear clarity. Also included are French, Spanish and Portuguese DD5.1 tracks as well as English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.
Extras here are…surprising. There’s actually a healthy dosage of them, but none of them really take up any time to watch. All told you’re looking at about an hour’s worth of extras to check out, which isn’t too shabby, but with no audio commentary they ring a bit hollow. Still, we start off with a series of featurettes including Downtime on the Set of (3:59) that focuses mostly on Jim Carrey (as most of the extras here do). Jim Carrey: Extreme Yes Man (11:52) again focuses on the leading man, while On Set with Danny Wallace (8:31, Blu-ray Exclusive) takes a quick set tour with the author who originally wrote the book the film is based off of. Moving forward there’s a faux documentary titled Future Sounds: Munchausen by Proxy (5:28). Say “Yes” to Red Bull (2:06, Blu-ray Exclusive) and “Yes Man: Party Central” (2:16, Blu-ray Exclusive) are up next, followed by an array of Music Videos (14:33) of the Munchausen by Proxy songs, all of which I actually found quite entertaining (in their own quirky way). Additional Scenes (7:31) is a quick showcase of deleted scenes, while Gag Reel (5:35) wraps up the extras. All of the above extras are presented in full 1080p high definition.
Overall the lack of commentary hurts the release, but I guess this isn’t really a film you need to hear about for an hour and forty-four minutes. Still, as is it’s a fair release and one that comes Recommended, just like the film.
Yes Man arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on April 7th.