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"Yes Man"

Directed by Peyton Reed.
Written by Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul and Andrew Mogel.
Starring Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper and Terence Stamp.
Release Year:  2008

Review Date:  12/20/08


Let's be honest--Jim Carrey hasn't made a funny movie in a while.  "Yes Man", then, is a surprise...because it actually is funny, even if it is never hilarious.

Carrey returns to pure comedy for the first time since "Bruce Almighty" five years ago (I don't know what to call "Fun with Dick and Jane")...this time around, he's Carl Allen, Life Going Nowhere Guy.  His wife left him a couple of years ago, he's in the same deadbeat bank job he's had for five years, and he has a cell phone only to monitor who he doesn't want to talk to, including his best friend Peter (Bradley Cooper, making a steady living on this character type).  One day he runs into an old friend (John Michael Higgins, once again great in short order) who gets him to go to a self-help seminar led by a crazy guy named Terence (Terence Stamp) that approaches life one way--you've got to say YES to every opportunity that comes your way.  Carl takes Terrence up on the offer, and proceeds to change his life, including meeting a woman named Allison (Zooey Deschanel) who helps him get over the hump.

Carrey is great, but what drives the movie is a constant undercurrent of above-average humor.  It comes in all forms--good physical comedy, but never crazy "Ace Ventura" stuff; the occasional dirty stuff, but never "Me, Myself & Irene"; funny lines, but not a single fall-into-the-aisle moment; a romantic angle that never takes itself that seriously.  "Yes Man" also should thank its supporting players for keeping this thing even...Cooper is good, but the real charm here is Rhys Darby as Carl's bank boss Norman.  Darby gets some good laughs, and has the accent thing going for him, which works.  Fionnula Flanagan plays Carl's next-door neighbor Tillie, and she's a hoot; wow, even Deschanel didn't annoy me into submission during this film, so that in and of itself is a victory.

The film almost seems complacent in its 7-out-of-10-ness, but that was okay with me.  It's a comedy that works, safe for the whole family, and it definitely does not suck.  Again, given the year we've had, I'll take it.

Rating:  $9.50 Show


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09