Yes Man is loosely based on the book
by a British chap called Danny Wallace. (Hollywood is hoovering up our comedians, it seems... and if that sentence isn't laden with huffiness, I wrote it wrong.) The film and the book differ in all ways but the name, almost, so if you read it and you're hoping to see its likeness on the screen, you'll be really disappointed, maybe... but perhaps that's not necessarily a bad thing, as the film really is most good.
Zooey Deschanel (of Elf
fame - she sings in this, too... such a treat!) plays the love interest and Terence Stamp is the self-help guru who galvanizes our hero. Both are excellent but, as usual, it's all about the Carrey who stars as Carl Allen, a fella whose life is a terrible shade of grey. He displays all the symptoms of depression, and his performace actually resonated quite deeply. He doesn't go out except to go to work where his day consists of answering "No" to loan applicants and he actively avoids human contact - including his friends - often going to great lengths to do so... he's created a bubble that he exists in, and he is unhappy and very much alone having bricked himself in.
Carrey is under-rated as a serious actor - but this is the same chap who gave a beautiful performance in The Truman Show
. In Yes Man, his portrayal of a depressed man is really very authentic, and if you recognise his behaviour in yourself (as I did) you may find early parts of the film a little difficult. It's an out and out comedy, but seeing something so personal - shameful - on the big screen can be painful.
His humour is broad, it has to be said: many feel that it's lowest common denominator fare and it's impossible to tell someone whether they'll find something funny or not. That everyone was laughing simultaneously while watching isn't terribly convincing or telling, either. But, I laughed out loud several times, and found him hugely likeable. There's nothing cynical or mean about this, at all: it's well-natured, and happy and a much needed shot of simple, cheerful goodness in a sea of comedy that's spiteful and "confrontational" and full of knowing glances. Equally, I can well see many finding this genuinely inspirational: I'm not sure how realistic it all is, but it's certainly a wonderful message about embracing life and being less afraid of what it has to offer.
Yes Man is a lovely film; one that can very much lift your spirits. I left the film feeling really quite uplifted and comforted and I recommend it very much. Not least because everyone should see Carrey squeezed into a toddler's Hogwarts jumper at least once in their life...