x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Yes Man

It's good for some good laughs but there's too much resemblance to Liar, Liar to allow it to fly on its own.

Jim Carrey and Terence Stamp in Yes Man.
Jim Carrey and Terence Stamp in Yes Man.

Yes Man is a lesson in how casting decisions can backfire. Jim Carrey plays Carl Allen, a loan officer who since his divorce refuses all social engagements and spends most of his time alone in his apartment. When he misses his best friend's engagement party, he realises something has to change, and attends a self-help seminar, at which he agrees to say yes to every request and opportunity that comes his way for one month. In other hands this could have been an interesting and funny study in attitude adjustment, but this movie has very clearly been positioned as Liar Liar mark two. In the 1997 film, Carrey played a lawyer who was compelled to tell the truth for one day after his son made a birthday wish. In Yes Man, Allen is browbeaten by Terence Stamp's self-help guru into making a promise to himself. Despite some lame hints that the universe might take revenge on him if he breaks this promise, unlike Liar Liar, there's no actual magic involved here. Because the filmmakers head full tilt for wacky scenarios anyway, this makes the plot - when Allen, for example, gives away all of his money, or agrees to stop running because the security guard who is chasing him asks him to - much harder to go along with. There's also no getting away from the fact that it was funnier to watch a crooked lawyer having to tell the truth in court than it is to watch Allen stamping "approved" on applications for frivolous loans. Carrey still puts on a good show, and the supporting cast members make a decent effort, but it is still obvious how much Yes Man has suffered from being hammered into the mould of the earlier film.

* Ella Stimson