How would your life be different if you were on a strict diet of “yes,” only able to answer “yes” to all of life’s opportunities and challenges? This is the premise and charge of Jim Carrey’s new uplifting comedy Yes Man
Peyton Reed (The Break Up) directed “Yes Man” from screen play by the talented trio, Nicholas Stoller, Jarred Paul, and Andrew Mogel, based on the memoirs of by Scottish-born author, humorist, and television personality, Danny Wallace. Wallace had found himself closing himself off to life after a romantic break up. It was then, on a London bus, that someone’s off handed comment, “You should say yes more,” became a pivotal moment and inspiration for a life change which, true to the spirit of the film, led Wallace to a life of spontaneity and adventure, a successful book, and now a Hollywood film.
In press notes, Carrey, who is brilliant in this film, offered this of the script. “I am always looking for something that can be really hilarious but also has some aspect that you can chew on afterward.” This film certainly has both.
Carrey plays Carl, a banker who withdraws from his life, including his friends, dreams, and passions following a difficult break-up 3 years prior. When the situation looks dire, his friend suggests that he enroll in a “Yes” seminar given by the always provocative Terence Stamp. After committing to only respond with “yes” to invitations and opportunities, Carl finds his life expanded and enriched in unimaginable ways, including a romance with Allison (Zooey Deschanel), a quirky delightful experimental singer and artist.
Having let go of his rigidity and narcissistic wallowing, Carl is now open to everything. He learns to play guitar, speak Korean, develop new friendships, and travel. These newly acquired skills allow him to better connect with, and to avail himself to others in unexpected and touching ways, becoming a positive force in the lives of those around him. Of course Carl’s indiscriminant “yes’ finds him in tricky situations as he must also learn the important lesson of tempering “yes” with wisdom, integrity and heart—qualities this movie has in spades.