Yes Man

Jim Carrey is capable of fine work: "The Truman Show" and "The Majestic," but there are times when he needs a firmer hand on the tiller or his mugging goes overboard: "The Cable Guy" and "The Mask." Thankfully, I can report that "Yes Man," is more of the first than the second.

Make no mistake, in light of Carrey's target audience, there IS crass humor. For example, when we see that glass of water on the nightstand, we KNOW that old woman will take out her dentures...and WHY! By the way, last night's audience LOVED that part...

On the other hand, we watch as an emotionally isolated Carrey is inveigled into attending a self-help seminar in which they extol the merits of saying "YES!" to everything. As he reluctantly embraces this new mindset, he is launched into an entirely different world from the circumscribed one that has sheltered and protected him since his divorce three years earlier. As a result, he assists a homeless man, takes Korean language lessons, learns to fly an airplane, masters the guitar, meets a cute gal on a motor scooter, dates an Iranian woman and hands out micro-loans by the dozens in his job as a loan officer at a bank. And you know what? All of these skills come into play before this movie ends.

Carrey capably handles the role and the movie surprised me in several ways:
  • The seminar leader, played by Terrence Stamp ("Get Smart" and "Valkyrie") isn't a shyster, but is, instead, a fairly decent fellow who sincerely wants his flock to succeed.
  • Carrey's best friend, portrayed by the handsome Bradley Cooper ("Wedding Crashers" and "Failure to Launch") isn't a slacker, but is, instead, an intelligent, employed, and caring pal.
  • The motor scooter gal, the ever-appealing Zooey Deschanel ("Bridge to Terabithia" and "The Assassination of Jesse James...") isn't an irresponsible whack job, but is, instead, a photographer and part-time vocalist at a club.
  • The former co-worker who talks Carrey into attending that seminar is played by my favorite Christopher Guest repertory guy, John Michael Higgins ("Evan Almighty" and "The Breakup"), who isn't a meddler, but is, instead, a guy who actually cares about Carrey's decline since the divorce.

The movie has many things to recommend it, but just enough crass stuff that you might want to think twice. Then you must make up your own mind...smile...