"Yes to Comedy, No to Raunchiness"
What You Need To Know:
YES MAN is very funny, though the core of the story is mostly fluff, and the jeopardy is not strong enough. Also, the fun is clouded by a number of objectionable elements. In addition to a relatively high count of foul language, there is an explicit sexual scene with an elderly woman because Carl cannot say no to her. There also is rear male nudity when Carl’s hospital gown opens, and there is a shot of a crowd of naked men and women revealing their nude backsides. These elements mar what could have been a good family film. YES MAN warrants extreme caution for media-wise viewers.
(H, B, LLL, V, SS, N, AA, M) Light humanist worldview with positive message of connecting with others in relationship and saying “yes” to opportunities; 21 obscenities, 11 profanities, and discussion of private parts; slapstick comedy and fist fight with comedic overtones; man has sexual relations with an elderly woman, discussion of “moving in together” as being an important act of commitment; rear male nudity, crowd of naked men and women mostly covered up except for a shot of multiple backsides; alcohol use including drunkenness; no smoking or drugs; and, lying.
YES MAN stars Jim Carrey as Carl, who embarks on a self-help program to say “yes” to all opportunities in an attempt to overcome his depression after his divorce. Carl doesn’t want to see his friends and only stays at home and rents movies. Attending a self-help seminar, he commits to say “yes” to any and all opportunities that come his way.
At first, this works well for him. Giving a ride to a homeless man enables him to meet Renee, the girl of his dreams. He gets a promotion at work for approving micro loans to worthy people. He talks a man off a ledge and helps others. However, when the truth about his commitment to say “yes” is learned by Renee, she questions whether he really wants to be with her or is simply saying yes because of his commitment. In the end, Carl learns to have balance in his life and to say no to some things.
YES MAN has good production values with a fun performance by Jim Carrey. In fact, the movie is mostly a vehicle to see Carrey get into and out of predicaments. There are many very funny, slapstick oriented gags and scenes where Carrey’s comedic talents shine. Zooey Deschanel is terrific as the fun loving Renee and helps the viewers connect with the story’s emotional sections. The movie is fast paced and never drags, because its perfectly timed comedy beats occur frequently.
The story of YES MAN has a great setup. The scenes are fun to watch, but the core of the story is mostly fluff. Renee leaving Carl because she can’t trust him is understandable but doesn’t seem irreconcilable. The stakes aren’t high enough to really worry he won’t get her again.
The movie’s fun is clouded, however, by a number of objectionable elements. In addition to a relatively high count of foul language, there is a scene where Carl is “serviced” sexually by an elderly woman because he can’t say “no.” Sadly, the scene depicts this. There is also rear male nudity when Carl’s hospital gown opens, and there is another shot of a crowd of naked men and women that reveal nude backsides. These elements mar what otherwise could have been a good family film.
Because of these elements, the movie warrants strong caution, especially for children.