Anyway, Carrey takes the reins as Carl, a schlub who's sleepwalking through what passes for a life. He'd only been married for six months but is still reeling from the divorce three full years later, blowing off old buddies (Danny Masterson and Bradley Cooper) and a dweeby Kiwi coworker (Conchord Rhys Darby) whenever they try to pal around with him. Carl kinda revels in his hermetically sealed lifestyle by chanting "no" to everything, so cue John Michael Higgins with the high concept plot device: nod "yes" to every offer that comes his way. The idea is that this'll open Carl up to opportunities he barely even knew existed. Taking flying lessons! Learning basic Korean! Saving lives! Ingenious banking concepts that send him scurrying way up the corporate ladder! Uh, Nebraska! Carl is about as bright-eyed and cheery as he's ever been thanks to "yes!", and he even stumbles upon a too-cute romance with Allison (Zooey Deschanel), the hyperimpulsive frontwoman from a synthpop throwback band called Munchausen by Proxy.
Up till that point, Yes Man is kind of like Mia laying comatose on that shag carpeting in Pulp Fiction; that first instant Zooey breezes in front of the camera jabs a syringe of adrenaline clean into its heart and sends it screaming back to life again. Zooey Deschanel is a lot like...oh, I dunno, caramel. Work with me here: drizzle caramel on anything -- ice cream, pie, chocolate, steak, whatever -- and it's inherently better than it was before. Ditto for Zooey, who casting agents the world over have had on speed dial whenever they need to fill a quirky love interest, quirky best friend, quirky neighbor, or...well, quirky anything, really. It's her left-of-the-dial charm that makes Yes Man at least worth a couple of clicks on Netflix. From the moment she first putters in on her scooter, there's hardly a scene in the movie without Zooey that really works, and if you aren't swooning when she steps on-stage -- flanked by a rack of keytars and a Moog Voyager (!!!), blindfolded, and draped in a fishnet -- then you have no soul. Carrey and Deschanel have an enormous amount of chemistry, and Yes Man is never sweeter, funnier, or more clever than when the two of them are paired together on-screen.
That's another problem with Yes Man, really: it's not funny. The movie leans too heavily on Carrey's trademark slapstick that was stale a full decade ago, and it's too quick to settle for "oh, that's cute" or half-smirks in lieu of actual laughs. It doesn't help that its sense of humor is so lazy. Y'know, "hey, look at that guy's bare-ass!" Oh no! Jim Carrey's doing a 4th-grade drunk guy impression while fighting an overmuscular prick who towers over him! That Korean broad at the bridal whatever is speaking broken Engrish! I mean, this is a movie that thinks it's a good idea to pay off a scene with a suicidal Luis Guzman by strumming along to a twelve year old Third Eye Blind song or to be "edgy" by having a toothless seventysomething neighbor go downtown on Carl. (In a movie that otherwise is so cute and harmless, that really seems out of place.)
I really like Peyton Reed as a director, but the personality he brought to Down with Love, The Break-up, and...heck, even Bring It On and The Weird Al Show is missing in action here. For a flick whose triple-underlined message is to open yourself up to new possibilities and take chances, Yes Man is disappointingly routine.
Kinda like the movie itself, this Blu-ray disc of Yes Man is okay but pretty routine. The scope image is decently detailed, and even though its colors generally skew towards the blander, browner end of the palette, there's a fair amount of pop in some of the sunny exteriors along with the oversized "yes!" bit in the convention center. There really isn't anything at all I'd waggle my finger at and gripe about, but even if Yes Men doesn't disappoint in high-def, it never manages to impress all that much either. This is exactly what you'd stroll in expecting, really; fine -- and definitely a leg up on the DVD -- but never great.
Ditto for Yes Man's 16-bit Dolby TrueHD track. It's a standard issue, straight off the shelf comedy mix: dialogue anchored front and center, pretty much every last sound effect rooted in the front mains, a marginal amount of color in the surrounds, and the subwoofer lurching to life to reinforce the score and a few scattered effects. Again, Terrence Stamp's seminar is the standout with waves of thundering bass rattling just about everything that's not nailed down and the chants of cultists attacking from every direction. Skeet shooting, thunder-'n-rain, and a pretty nasty car wreck also serve up plenty of tight, punchy bass, but Yes Man is content to let the dialogue carry the bulk of the flick, so it's kinda low-key otherwise. The music is definitely the best thing Yes Man's audio has going for it. Aside from the synthpop delirium of Munchausen by Proxy, the soundtrack is heavy on The Eels and even belts out They Might Be Giants' "Ana Ng" at a particularly dweeby house party. Oh, it makes the nerdy former-college-radio-DJ in me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That's some rockin' Journey too. Again, though, Yes Man really doesn't sound all that different than what you'd hop in expecting to hear, but that's okay. The mix never comes up short, even if there's nothing all that dazzling or memorable about it.
Warner continues its oddball habit of defaulting to a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix rather than belt out TrueHD up front. Other soundtracks are served up in French, Spanish, and Portuguese, and there's a descriptive narrative track too. Also included are subtitle streams in English (SDH), French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Yes Man veers away from stock making-of featurettes, opting instead to root its extras in quippy and quasi-candid stuff from the shoot. Oh! And everything on here, from top to bottom and back again, is in high-def.
A second disc in the set piles on a digital copy of Yes Man that's compatible with iTunes and Windows Media devices. The standard blue case slips comfortably into a glossy cardboard sleeve.
The Final Word
Yes Man? No thanks. Rent It.