Rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity, 104 minutes
No to Carrey's "Yes Man," and please get fresher material
Jim Carrey has already made "Yes Man" once, back in 1997 when he made "Liar, Liar," another similiarly themed, gimmicky movie whereby Carrey's character is unable to tell a lie, regardless of the cost. In "Yes Man" he's unable to say no to anyone or anything, regardless of the cost. This type of thing wore out its welcome 11 years ago and isn't much funnier in 2008. Stale, flat with a few crude but comically inspired scenes, I'd have to break from the theme here and say no, Carrey's comedy isn't funny.
Carrey is Carl Allen, a lonely divorced loan officer stuck in a rut, in spite of some fun friends in Peter (Bradley Cooper) and Rooney (Danny Masterson), who try to get him out of his apartment. He dislikes most things and says no to just about everything. He runs into former work colleague Nick (John Michael Higgins) who encourages to go to some new age self-help seminar run by Terrence (Terence Stamp), who encourages his followers to say yes to everything, at least that's the way Carl interprets it. Carl does everything from taking Korean lesson, flying lessons, guitar lessons to even, uhm, helping out the elderly. He meets and falls in love with Allison (Zooey Deschanel), who along with his newfound philosophy changes his life, that is until the truth really comes out.
I will say it is nice to see Carrey doing comedy again after being so serious with the dismal drama "Number 23." Though largely a physical comedian, Carrey can throw out spry dialogue with the best of them, and when he attempts to talk at the same as someone else, you can't help but snicker. But the whole concept of "Yes Man" is wholly unoriginal, as it essentially remakes (or rips offs, however you look at it), his own movie, "Liar Liar," which had a similar formula.
Things have changed in comedy since the late '90's, and now crudeness and dirty humor play an important part in comedy films, and you'll find it in "Yes Man" too, but the only thing is - it isn't as funny as say, Judd Apatow. Director Peyton Reed ("The Break Up") surrounds Carrey with actors less funny -Coooper and Masterson (Hyde from "That '70s Show") - are not Paul Rudd or Seth Rogan. The one truly funny supporting actor is Rhys Darby from "The Flight of the Conchords" as Carrey's even lonelier boss Norman, who enjoys having costume parties based on movies.
"Yes Man" belongs to Carrey, and he and Deschanel have a few sweet moments, and the few comically inspired scenes unsurprisingly also belong to Carrey - playing a guitar in trying to talk a suicidal man down, and a Red Bull-fueled run and crash down a mountain. Others don't work as well (having sex with senior citizens is uncomfortable and unfunny - Adam Sandler tried this already and it didn't work then, either).
"Yes Man" will likely be another big hit for Carrey, as this type of comedy is what people come to expect from him. Just wish it'd be more fresh and original next time.