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Peyton Reed
Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, John Michael Higgins, Rhys Darby, Danny Masterson, Fionnula Flanagan, Terence Stamp
Writing Credits:
Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogel, Danny Wallace (book)

One word can change everything.

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. Take a bungee plunge? Yes. Accept call-now TV offers? Yes. Learn Korean? Yes. Grab the first flight to anywhere? Yes. Win your dream girl? Yes. Crack up fans with a feel-good, laugh-loaded romp? Yes! 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.

Box Office:
$70 million.
Opening Weekend
$18.262 million on 3434 screens.
Domestic Gross
$97.680 million.

Rated PG-13

Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 4/7/2009

• “Downtime on the Set of Yes Man with Jim Carrey” Featurette
• “Jim Carrey: Extreme Yes Man” Featurette
• “Future Sounds: Munchausen By Proxy” Featurette
• 5 Munchausen By Proxy Music Videos
• Gag Reel
• Digital Copy
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Harman/Kardon DPR 2005 7.1 Channel Receiver; Toshiba A-30 HD-DVD/1080p Upconverting DVD Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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Yes Man: Special Edition (2008)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 6, 2009)

Have audiences finally started to tire of Jim Carrey? Not entirely, but the funnyman no longer churns out massive box office smashes on a regular pace. Carrey seems able to produce decent receipts but he’s not produced a mega-hit since 2003’s Bruce Almighty.

With 2008’s Yes Man, we get a moderate success on a par with 2005’s Fun With Dick and Jane. Both earned respectable totals in the $100 million range, but neither exactly set the world on fire.

In the case of Fun, the film did better than it deserved, as it was a mess. I hoped to find better from Yes Man, the story of Carl Allen (Carrey), a man stuck in the doldrums. Still depressed after the departure of his ex-wife Stephanie (Molly Sims) three years earlier, Carl works at a dead-end job as a loan officer and habitually declines offers from friends and others to do anything other than mope in his apartment.

One day Carl runs across an old acquaintance named Nick (John Michael Higgins) who espouses the theories of self-help guru Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp). Bundley touts the “Yes!” plan that essentially requires all of its advocates to say “yes” to virtually every offer that comes across their plates. Carl accepts this plan and we follow the ways that this affects his life, including his relationship with free-spirited musician Allison (Zooey Deschanel).

Back in the series’ fifth season, The Simpsons ran an episode in which a self-help guru espoused a “do what you feel like” philosophy inspired by Bart. This ends poorly, as everyone cedes responsibility for their actions.

Yes Man reminds me a whole bunch of that episode, though it tends to take the opposite worldview. In this flick, brainless conformity to a simplistic plan is a good thing. Yeah, the film tries to balance this by its end, but 99 percent of the time, it sticks with the whole “say ‘yes’ to everything” mindset and shows us how this brings Carl to life.

Bah, humbug! Forgive me if I tire of the whole notion that to “really live life”, you have to climb Mt. Everest or jump off of a bridge. I resist the idea that there’s one particular approach to “living life” that trumps all others, especially since we always get battered over the head with the same perspective that involves the activities portrayed in the film.

Never mind that the concept of saying “yes” to everything would go really, really wrong in a really, really big hurry. The whole Terrence Bundley side creeps me out, as he and his followers come across like a spooky cult. And why is it a good idea to vandalize a bank as Nick does early in the movie? Because he felt like it? That’s moronic and counterproductive.

Again, the movie eventually comes around to the notion that saying “yes” to everything isn’t a very good idea – after it tells us it’s a great idea for 90 minutes. I’m not sure what message it wants us to take other than “be open to some ideas but not to others”. I guess Happy Medium Man didn’t look good on the posters.

Perhaps I took the film’s premise too seriously, as I recognize that the framework exists largely as an excuse to place Carrey in a series of wacky situations. If the film proved more successful in that regard, I might excuse the idiocy of its concept.

Unfortunately, Carrey can’t do much to mine any potential laughs. Actually, he may make this tripe more palatable than would otherwise be the case, but Carl just isn’t an interesting enough character to carry the film. In many ways, Yes Man reminds me of Groundhog Day, though that film explored its concept in a much more satisfying – and less idiotic way. Yes Man is like a really simple-minded, dumbed-down version of Groundhog with a much less interesting lead character.

By the way, does it seem odd that Carl only seems to know people who are 15 to 20 years younger than he? Granted, I’m taking Carrey’s actual age and comparing it to his costars, which doesn’t necessarily equate to the ages of Carl and the others. Still, it remains clear they’re substantially younger than the mid-forties Carrey, and it seems weird that they pal around with him, especially since he’s such a stick in the mud. Maybe Carrey wanted younger friends – and a much younger leading lady in Deschanel – to make himself seem more youthful, but it doesn’t work. Instead, we’re just distracted by the casting choices.

Of course, if Yes Man did its job and amused us, we wouldn’t notice the age issues, plot idiocy or other concerns. But amuse us it fails to do. Carrey can always pull a few laughs out of his butt – sometimes literally – but he can’t redeem this tiresome bore.

The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Yes Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though many parts of the transfer looked great, too many exceptions occurred in this erratic presentation.

Sharpness was one of the inconsistencies. Much of the film exhibited good clarity and definition, but more than a few shots came across as somewhat soft. Some of this stemmed from light edge enhancement, and some other artifacts left us with mosquito noise and blockiness. I also saw a few instances of jagged edges and shimmering, though neither seemed heavy. Source flaws were minor; the picture suffered from a bit of grain at times, and I saw a speck or two, but otherwise it seemed clean.

Colors worked pretty well. The movie went with a warm natural palette that appeared acceptably vivid and full. Blacks appeared dark and full as well, but shadows were less positive. Low-light shots tended to be a little thick and bland. The mix of good and bad left this as a “C+” transfer.

Like most comedies, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Yes Man didn’t pack a big punch. However, it seemed more than satisfying for this kind of flick. Most of the time, the soundfield emphasized general ambience. This meant a good sense of atmosphere throughout the film, as the track brought the various settings to life in a positive manner.

Surround usage tended to reinforce that side of things, though a few sequences added a bit of zip to the package. For instance, a thunderstorm provided a nice sense of place, and some aircraft scenes did the same. This wasn’t an impressive track, but it did what it needed to do.

At all times, audio quality was fine. Speech sounded distinctive and natural, without edginess or other concerns. Music was vivid and rich, and effects also seemed well-reproduced. Those elements showed good vivacity and accuracy throughout the film. The soundscape wasn’t exciting enough to make this more than a “B” track, but I thought it was more than acceptable.

Though billed as a “2-Disc Special Edition”, Yes Man doesn’t come packed to the gills with extras. On DVD One, we find a few featurettes. Downtime on the Set of Yes Man with Jim Carrey goes for three minutes, 59 seconds and provides some comments from actor Jim Carrey and director Peyton Reed. They don’t tell us much, as “Downtime” mostly just shows Carrey as he goofs around on the set. That makes it mildly interesting but not more than that.

We find more of the actor in Jim Carrey: Extreme Yes Man. This one goes for 11 minutes, 52 seconds as it presents info from Carrey, Reed, “rollerman” Jean-Yves Blondeau, stunt player Ernest Vigil, and actor Zooey Deschanel. We check out the shooting of some of the movie’s stunt sequences. This feels a bit promotional, but it gives us a number of good glimpses behind the scenes.

Some info about the movie’s music comes to us via the five-minute, 27-second Future Sounds: Munchausen By Proxy. This becomes a fake Behind the Music sort of program about the film’s phony band. It’s cute at best but not exactly fascinating stuff.

Next we find five “exclusive” Munchausen By Proxy Music Videos. We see clips for “Uh-Huh”, “Yes Man”, “Star-Spangled Banner”, “Sweet Ballad” and “Keystar”. Don’t take the title of “music videos” too seriously, as these actually offer clips from the shoot. However, they provide longer versions of some songs and a few performances that don’t make the final film at all, so I expect fans will find them interesting.

A Gag Reel fills five minutes, 34 seconds. Should you expect more than lots of shots of Carrey as he goofs around on the set? Nope, but that’s enough to make this more fun than the average blooper reel.

DVD One opens with some ads. We get promos for Blu-Ray Disc, He’s Just Not That Into You, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. No trailer for Yes Man appears here.

Finally, DVD Two includes a Digital Copy of Yes Man. It seems like every DVD provides this option these days; it allows you to easily transfer the flick to a portable device. I have no use for it, but I guess someone must dig it.

I like Jim Carrey and wanted to enjoy Yes Man, but the film disappoints. It can’t compensate for its flimsy premise with enough laughs to engage us. The DVD provides erratic visual quality, good audio and a minor collection of extras. Neither the movie nor the disc prove to be memorable.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.4444 Stars Number of Votes: 9
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