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Yes Man (2008)
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity.
Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, John Michael Higgins, Danny Masterson, Terence Stamp
Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul, Andrew Mogel
Yes Man (2008)
Jim Carrey stars as Carl Allen, a guy whose life is going nowhere—the operative word being "no"—until he signs up for a self-help program based on one simple covenant: say yes to everything...and anything.
Yes Man (2008) | Review
The Promise of Possibility
5 Stars = Profoundly Spiritual
1 Star = Not At All Spiritual
That is until he finds himself smack dab in the middle of a motivational seminar promising to say yes to everything. In less than two hours, he goes from being the guy who wouldn't lend you a shirt if you held a gun to his head to the guy who would give you the clothes off his back, no questions asked, if you just ask. Afraid that any betrayal of the "covenant" he made will lead to cosmic upheaval, he actually says yes to every question that comes his way. When a homeless man asks for a ride, he drives him all the way across the city. When his best friend asks him to throw a bridal shower for his fiancee, he agrees. And when he happens to walk by one of those cork-boards asking every passerby if they want to discover their true potential/lose 20 pounds/learn French, let's just say that his schedule becomes very full, very fast.
In typical Jim Carrey style, Carl's commitment to saying yes to everything becomes a comic montage of the absurd and amusing. I mean, really, if someone actually said yes to every opportunity that presented itself, you could probably fill America's Funniest Home Videos' programming for the next year. But more than just a comic spectacle, Carl's new life as the "Yes Man" also speaks to the validity of the premise behind it. As Terrence Bundley (Terence Stamp) tells his seminar participants, "When you say yes to things, you embrace the possible." Instead of closing every door with a "no," saying yes opens doors to places you might never have considered going. And as Carl discovers, while sometimes a "yes" may seem absurd at its first utterance, it mas still lead to quite unexpected and positive life developments.
But as you might guess, saying yes to everything isn't always going to result in getting a promotion at work, meeting a great girl, or saving a man's life. Sometimes we really do need to say no. And although being open to possibility is positive, there's something to be said about the authenticity of actions that come from actual thought instead of just cosmic obligation. As Carl's girlfriend Allison (Zooey Deschanel) asks him, "How do I know if anything you did was because you wanted to?" As his best friend tells him, "There is a middle ground." But while Carl does take his "Yes" lifestyle a bit too far, the truth is that it is only through that very extreme that he is able to shed the constraints that had imprisoned him in his "No" lifestyle for so long. If his "Yes" life is about throwing every door open, his "No" life would have been about bolting every door closed. Sliding one bolt into the door was his conviction that nothing and no one could ever have anything to offer him. Sliding the next was his belief that he had absolutely nothing to share himself. And only when he is unable to rely on either of those locks to keep himself closed off from the world around him does he realize that neither are true and actually start living.
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