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Yes Man

It’s a Maybe

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

Following a career that appeared to be in the dumps, Jim Carrey is back. Say what you will about him, but he’s an authentically funny guy when given the right circumstances -- and his dramatic work isn’t too shabby either. So it’s no surprise that he decided to start his comeback in a big budget comedy (Bruce Almighty was his highest grossing film of all time) despite dramatic roles in 2004’s fantastic Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show. Fortunately, Yes Man is an enjoyable film and, while it may not be his best, it reminds us of why he was once on top.

Yes Man follows Carl Allen, a loan officer, who, due to a divorce, has shut off the world around him. He ignores calls from his friends and is constantly making up excuses for events. That is until he runs into his old friend Nick (John Michael Higgins) who tells him about a seminar that will open him up to the world’s possibilities. Following the seminar by “Yes” guru Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp), Carl decides to start living his life by saying “yes” to everything, believing that those paths will eventually lead him to something good. Sure enough on his first night as a "yes man" he meets Alison (Zooey Deschanel).

The basic plot sounds very generic, and it is, but it's the performances that make this film worth watching. It may also sound similar to Carrey’s own, previous film Liar, Liar, but they’re only similar on paper and Yes Man has the edge. Also, despite the blatant age difference between Carrey and Deschanel, they actually have good chemistry. Deschanel may seem like an odd casting choice for Carrey’s love interest, but this film hinges on the fringe characters. Many may not know who Rhys Darby is, but he's definitely the funniest, next to Carrey. Known mainly as Murray on Flight of the Conchords, this is his first real exposure to a wide audience. He plays Norman, Carl's boss, who is the classic 'nerd trying to be the main character's friend'.

It also doesn't hurt that the first draft of the script was written by Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Judd Apatow collaborator) so the slapstick is coupled well with true heart. In Yes Man there’s enough breathing room for Carrey to be classic Jim Carrey but still illustrate his skills as a serious actor.