Yes, I consider myself a Jim Carrey fan. No, I do not consider myself an apologist for anything he's done. Yes, his latest -- Yes Man -- is amusing. No, it's not his big comeback to live-action fodder since 2005's Fun with Dick and Jane (apparently, last year's The Number 23 wasn't supposed to be funny...), but rather a minor lark in the Canadian comedian's career that attempts to wedge together the wisest cracks and broadest mugging of his Tom Shadyac comic fantasies, Bruce Almighty and Liar Liar, with the exceedingly conventional rom-com efforts of director Peyton Reed (The Break-Up, Down with Love). Yes, the combination (substitution?) leaves something to be desired, although no, it's not exactly a painful sit because of it...

Oh, and yes, the rest of the review will read just like this. Yes, Carrey indeed plays the titular fellow, a mopey loan officer compelled by an overzealous host (Terence Stamp) at a recommended self-help seminar to say "yes" to each and every opportunity that comes his way (from what we gather, the last thing he may or may not have approved was a divorce). No, giving the homeless lifts to the middle of nowhere and then emptying your wallet to them are not exceptions. Yes, this psychological strategy does cause him to open up, even to the point of attending every costume party that his geeky boss (Rhys Darby) throws together and fatefully meeting a free spirit who's eighteen years his junior off-screen (Zooey Deschanel). No, of course he doesn't tell her about his no-to-'no' habit, and yes, they'll eventually fight in just enough time for a Wacky Climax to ensue. No, it's all pretty much that predictable.

But yes, the film does begin livelier than it ends, with Carrey seizing the day by getting into bar fights, breaking into the Hollywood Bowl, meeting a mail order bride, and just about anything else that might make the most of an often picturesque Los Angeles setting. No, it's not that funny when an elderly neighbor offers to fellate him with her dentures out, and yes, you've probably already seen that gag (ahem) in either last month's Soul Men or last decade's The Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.

No, a scene in which Carrey lures a suicidal Luis Guzman from jumping off a bridge with a rendition of a certain Third Eye Blind tune isn't that funny, and yes, it only gets worse when the nearby crowd joins along, as they only ever do in movies (though at least 2002's The Sweetest Thing had the good sense to combine its impromptu group of singing strangers and humiliation by means of oral pleasure in the same clumsy scene).

No, I didn't mention that every geeky on-screen party is centered on another Warner Brothers release (300, Harry Potter), but yes, I did mention that this film was amusing, if nothing else. No, Carrey eventually can't stop the three-credited-writers screenplay from heading where it may, but yes, when given the chance, he wise-cracks and mugs as he has before, and yet, as only he really can, best left to his own devices and not any number of stunts (see: Climax, Wacky).

No, Stamp hasn't been this much fun since, well, ever, briefly bringing a much needed jolt back with his re-appearance later in the film. Yes, Deschanel is as adorable as ever, finely tuning her wry sarcasm while her character hosts a jogging photography class (smell that fresh-baked quirk!) and doing her own singing at most every turn (though, no, you couldn't be blamed for thinking her character to be an exceedingly familiar wild woman archetype, like Kate Winslet in Carrey's Eternal Sunshine... or Anna Faris' similar songstress in the deservedly buried Mama's Boy).

Yeah, no, it's all so familiar and funny in about equal measure, a ready-made Christmas-time crowd-pleaser that'll pretty much play it safe, even in its cruder moments, and will be in circulation on cable soon enough. Should you wait until then? Can you wait until then? Eh, maybe.
categories Reviews, Cinematical