Yes Man could have been a fun concept for a number of Hollywood comedians. Jack Black was considered for the lead as well, although Steve Carell could have been a nice fit too. That shouldn’t discredit Jim Carrey’s work as Carl Allen, a former outcast brought into the limelight by saying “yes” to everything.
Director Peyton Reed directs this light comedic fare with some hilarious adult undertones. Yes Man is rapidly paced, quickly establishing Carl Allen as an anti-social jerk, ignoring phone calls, turning down chances to go out, and destroying peoples dreams as a loan officer. After a friend convinces him to attend a seminar hosted by Terrance Bundley (played by Terrance Stamp in a role small enough to be considered a cameo), he agrees to say yes to everything asked of him.
It’s not hard to see where this goes, but the film adds another element, one of karma when he breaks his promise. Every time Allen says no, he’s hurt or forced into an awkward situation. The solid premise is enough to carry the easy going plot, which also involves a romance between Carrey and Zooey Deschanel.
Carrey nicely blends his usual exaggerated antics with a toned down approach, the latter which he’s arguably better at. Yes Man walks a fine line without crossing over into Ace Ventura territory. Three screenwriters get credit for penning the script, and it’s done with fun dialogue exchanges brought to life by the cast.
The story takes a familiar arc of nearly all comedies, with Allen’s rise as things turn around for him, then crash, and back up again for the Hollywood ending. At the very least, it doesn’t end with a wedding, and the laughs are enough to make up for the familiarity.
Yes Man is at its best when it breaks free of its constraints for some zanier humor, particularly as Allen talks down a suicidal (and always funny) Luis Guzman. Scenes like this become the most memorable, along with the few scenes involving Maile Flanagan that can’t be discussed here.
Both non-Carrey and Carrey fans should be pleased with Yes Man’s fun and lively sense of humor. Pacing is proper, length isn’t an issue, nearly all of the jokes land, and you’ll come away with a smile on your face. It’s hard to find anything worth complaining about here.
Warner delivers a decent VC-1 encode for the film in hi-def. For the most part, this is a consistently pleasing transfer, one with enough detail and sharpness to satisfy. Shadow delineation is all-around excellent, and with a few exceptions, the black levels create a solid sense of depth in the image. Flesh tones are accurate, and aside from a brief moment of artifacting on some trees around the 49 minute mark, the encode remains firm.
Positives aside, there are times when the detail drops significantly, leaving the image flat. At times, faces can be a mess of muddy color and not comprised of the finely detailed crispness of earlier. Thankfully, Warner has waved off any artificial enhancement, leaving the grain structure intact.
A serviceable TrueHD track is the option reviewed here (although a standard compressed Dolby Digital mix ins included too without a logical reason). For a light comedy, there are brief moments of exceptional surround use, including the first seminar, a football game, and a thunderstorm during a vacation. The subwoofer receives a workout from the soundtrack, with a thick bass line. Dialogue is clean and prominent even during moments when the sound picks up. The mix is low overall, so expect to turn this one up a few notches higher than usual.
Extras are spread thin on the disc, although like other annoying Warner discs, the film simply starts playing without a main menu. A series of six featurettes delivers some fun behind-the-scenes stuff, including one entitled Downtime on the Set, and with Jim Carrey in tow is guaranteed fun. Danny Wallace, the author of the book on which the idea for the film was formed, takes a tour of the set offering more laughs. These are followed by one on the stunts (all done by Carrey), the band featured in the film, and a final featurette on the Red Bull sequence.
Party Central has actor Rhys Darby in character as he tours the apartment set in a short two minute feature. Over seven minutes of deleted scenes are crammed together without separation, followed by some music videos and a fun gag reel.