February 2, 2009

Say "No" To Jim Carrey's Yes Man

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Over winter break, one of my friends, who has a notorious taste in terrible movies, dragged me to see the movie Yes Man. Although I had heard absolutely nothing about it, I decided to give it a chance and see what Jim Carrey had up his sleeve.
It is impossible to deny that Jim Carrey is a talented and successful comedian. He has taken the lead role in some of my favorite movies, including Dumb and Dumber, Liar Liar and the Truman Show. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that Carrey’s recent choices in movies are bringing his career to a spiraling downfall. This fact is further supported by Carrey’s most recent movie, Yes Man.
Yes Man is one of the most unbearably random and strangely written movies I have seen in a long time. There is no denying that it leaves the viewer with a significant life lesson: Everyone should live with an open mind, and take on the challenges and propositions that life constantly throws at you. But you shouldn’t say “yes” to everything, or else you might end up like Jim Carrey’s character, Carl Allen, in a hospital bed, with an imported Arab wife, being chased down by the FBI. (Yes, unfortunately, this really happens in the movie.)
It all begins when Allen is dragged to a self-help seminar following a painful divorce, where the theme of the seminar is to “say YES to everything in life.” Due to his poor life-decisions made in the past, Carl decides to take up this philosophy and agree to anything that life throws at him. After leaving the seminar, Allen is approached by a bum who strategically asks for an absurd amount of money. (I mean, if I were a beggar desperately in need of cash, the first place I would go would be outside of a “yes convention.”) After being so incredibly inspired by his new philosophy, Allen agrees, and then the bum goes further to ask for the use of his cell phone and then for a ride to a distant park. Eventually, while driving home, Allen’s cell phone battery dies and his car runs out of gas. He instantaneously regrets his decision to follow this “yes program,” until he meets “the motorcycle girl” at a gas station. As Allen goes to retrieve gas, a woman at the nearby gas pump, played by a stunningly beautiful actress, Zooey Deschanel, snaps a photo of him and offers him a ride on her motorcycle back to his car. She explains that she is very interested in photography, hence her decision to creepily photograph him at the gas pump. As she drops Allen off at his car, they kiss goodbye. Allen attributes this random yet successful encounter to his new life philosophy and decides to take it on full force. If saying “yes” to absolutely everything can lead him to meeting beautiful women on motorcycles, then maybe it will improve his life.
Allen then begins to say yes to absolutely everything. This includes all pop-up advertisements he encounters on the Internet, all people coming into his bank asking for business loans, even sexual favors from the elderly woman who lives across the way. Eventually, although it is difficult for him to agree to all these things, good things do come from it. He gets promoted at work, learns to speak another language, learns to fly planes and even runs into motorcycle girl again. They date and fall in love, but Allen never mentions the “yes program” he’s living by. Eventually, when the FBI tracks Allen down because they somehow think he is a terrorist for learning different languages and learning to fly planes, his girlfriend finds out that the entire premise of their relationship was based on a “program.” She leaves, Allen asks for forgiveness a million times, eventually she forgives him and they live happily ever after. Carrey approaches the founder of the “yes convention” and asks him for help regarding the philosophy and learns that he shouldn’t say “yes” to absolutely everything, only the things he feels comfortable doing.
In sum, this movie was extremely random, not that funny and had a very strange ending. I won’t ruin the entire plot. If you are interested in watching Jim Carrey make a fool of himself for an hour and a half, Yes Man would be a great film for you. While it is important to say “yes” to many things in life, I would not recommend saying “yes” to this movie.