“Yes” is a useful word, particularly in response to such questions as “would you like a piece of cake?” “Would you like a free holiday?” or “Is Cinemafool the most stunningly intelligent web site you’ve ever read?”
When Danny Wallace employed the word to every single thing he was asked, it took him on a journey of wonder and, well, what I imagine was self discovery and new horizons – someone borrowed the book off me before I finished it and I haven’t seen it since (no hint there for its return…) Mr. Hollywood thought this concept was genius, threw away the non-fiction aspect and added Jim Carey. From the trailers this film walked a tightrope between guffaw-filled pre-Christmas joy, or a big sloshing bucket of steamy shite.
Thankfully the bucket remains mostly empty, Carey pulling out another Liar Liar-esque performance with a stable comic creation spattered with familiar Carey madness, particularly when he was introduced to the product-placement wonder of Red Bull. There’s a nice message about not wasting your life away by refusing all new experiences and allowing yourself to plod on towards the end in a boring and miserable way. Plus Rhys Darby from Flight of the Concords adds fresh quirk, mixed with a few gross-out moments (saying yes to the advances of a little old lady was particularly disturbing).
Unfortunately there is a little bit of shite in the bottom of the bucket, and that’s largely down to the lazy choice to fall in line with similar comedies, with cliché after cliché in terms of the strange but beautiful love interest (Zooey Deschanel) who must follow the usual track of falling in love – misunderstanding – fall out – get back together in dramatic gesture, plus the side-kick best mates, one quite good looking, the other a bit of a weird nerd. The yes situations do provide some originality, including some neat touches with Zooey’s random band, or the Harry Potter party, but ultimately the question becomes “can you see what’s coming?” and the answer, obviously, is “yes”.
It’s a shame that a high concept non-fiction (ish) book has been turned into more of a run-of-the-mill Saturday night comedy than something fresher, wittier, or just a bit funnier, but if you’re going to churn out a familiar old flick then it’s at least thankful they’ve picked the Carey to head it up. His energy is enough to carry the film, and though it can’t match the greatness of the Ventura, it at least matches up to, if not surpasses, the likes of Liar Liar. Which isn’t exactly the most devastating of compliments, to be honest. Still, it passes the time, raises a chuckle, and may even make you reconsider some life choices, so for that it gains the recommended CF0. A good one to sit in front of when you’ve said yes to one too many mince pies.