Saturday, November 21, 2009

Affirmative Action

Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel look to Mordor, wait wrong category, is it Hogsworth? For magic in Yes Man.


Last night watched the Jim Carrey comedy Yes Man and you know what, it wasn't bad. Jim Carrey is hit and miss with me, he can be funny and other times he goes overboard. Carrey has undeniable comic timing, an elastic body and a willingness to do any type of joke regardless of taste level. These traits made him a favorite when I used to watch In Living Color way back when (classic characters like Fire Marshall Bill or the female body builder were great). After hitting it big with his freak on a leash routine in those Ace Ventura movies, Carrey has tried for legitimacy (he wants to be taken seriously) which has simultaenously reined in his talking out of his butt impulses and homogenized him somewhat. For me, I like the slightly restrained Carrey that breaks out in spurts like in my favorite Carrey movie Liar Liar. Thankfully (for me), that's the Carrey we get in Yes Man.

Yes Man is about bank loan officer Carl who is depressed because his girl left him three years earlier. Carl wanders through work and then goes home to watch Blockbuster videos, avoiding any chance of talking to people or meeting with friends. An old friend runs into Carl and talks him into going to a seminar for a program where Terrance Stamp implores people to say "Yes!" to everything. He commands Carl to say "Yes!" to anything or there will be cosmic retribution. Carl grudgingly buys into it and finds by saying "Yes!" to everything presented to him that his life opens up both professionally and personally.

That's the gist of it, Yes Man is not original but for a comedy is directed with some polish by Peyton Reed. Reed does a good job, the jokes flow evenly, predictable story doesn't drag, he gets good performances from the cast as even minor characters get a sense of identity plus inobtrusive realism in the settings. Carrey is in a more mature version of his Liar Liar mode, acting somberly until the "Yes" command drives him into cortortionistic discomfort. He does look more aged, too old looking for his romantic opposite indie queen Zooey Deschanel. Deschanel gets to present a groomed version of her quirky indie appeal (her songs with the imaginary group Muschachen By Proxy are highlights) yet has no chemestry with Carrey. They kiss chastely and seem like two people more content to shake hands than make out. Rhys Darby (Flight Of The Conchords) gets to do his clueless well meaning office dork routine and naturally nails it.

Yes Man delivers the goods, a slight inoffensive high concept rom com that lets Carrey be goofy. It's Hollywood product, but it's well made product. The only item to take me out of the movie was unintentional, when loan officer Carl starts saying "Yes!" to every loan presented to him it's hard not to think of how banks sank the economy with this type of approval system. Still, Yes Man is a good enough time if you see it cheaply like a rental. If you want to have a nice comedy to pleasantly pass the time, I say Yes!

Below is a song from Muschachen By Proxy (have no idea if I'm spelling this right) called "Uh-Huh", one of about four songs for this movie. It's funny and catchy.

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