Monday, January 18, 2010

“Yes Man” – Who stole Jim Carrey’s laugh factor?

Is it too much to ask for a movie billed as a comedy to make me laugh once or twice? I don’t think so. That’s why we’re being told to see it. Don’t get me wrong, “Yes Man” isn’t a bad movie, it’s just not funny. It’s really a romantic comedy; no emphasis on comedy. Think in terms of every Julia Roberts film you’ve ever seen. There are parts that seem funny on paper, but come off on film as any other line. In the end, you realize that the movie was really just an innocent love story that should only be seen by married/dating couples from the comfort of their couch.

Even if you haven’t seen the film, you probably know what it’s about from the roughly forty-three million commercials that were aired prior to its release. As a bonus, those commercials showed you every “joke” that was in the film. This is always a huge mistake because it removes the possibility of the audience laughing while watching the film. In the past, I’ve advised you to ignore all previews after the first theatrical preview if you want to enjoy a film. Unfortunately, the promotions team for this film thought it would be a good idea to ruin it for you right away. Luckily, the jokes all sucked anyway, so you were screwed either way.

If you were like me, you assumed that the subtitle of the film was “Liar Liar 2.” Besides unfunny jokes, the previews give us the basic plot of the movie as Jim Carrey is cursed by someone and cannot say no (I just got away with a double-negative) to anything. Considering “Liar Liar” is easily Carrey’s funniest movie, this one should have followed…oh who am I kidding? There was no chance it would be funny. I’ve seen Carrey’s latest “comedies” (read: ZZZZZZ) and they have all been the opposite of funny.

Also like “Liar Liar,” “Yes Man” had a moral that you are supposed to learn, though not as clear cut as stop lying. Carrey plays a guy who has been sulking about his divorce for three years and won’t step outside of his busy schedule of working at a bank and watching movies. Getting divorced can be a devastating event in one’s life, but we learn later in the film that his marriage only lasted six months. Seriously, six months? If his friends were truly friends they would have kicked him in the testicles at the end of the first year. At the very least, they should have tied him to his bed and hired a prostitute to work him over.

Getting back to my point, the moral of this story was that you should live life by saying yes to opportunities when they present themselves or bad things will happen. The stupid thing about this premise is that the writers don’t have the courtesy to define an opportunity. Apparently, an opportunity is any request, regardless of how wrong it is. Example, Carrey lets an old woman give him a blow job (really). He tried to say no at first, but as soon as he did, bad things started to happen. So far, we’ve learned that the writers are not funny and rely on tired, gratuitous, indulgent clichés evident in every Carrey, Will Ferrell, Ben Stiller, and Jack Black comedy. You know what I’m talking about: BJ’s, old people, midgets, BJ’s from old midgets.

After this “close call,” Carrey stops hesitating to say yes. He says yes to Pakistani mail-order dates, penis enlargements, bums robbing him, and enough alcohol to kill an elephant. He also starts seeking out those little flyers people post with the tear-off tabs. I guess I was wrong, the writers did define opportunities. They are anything that you should definitely say no to unless you want to be fired, robbed, or dead. This kind of shit shows no creativity and proves that Hollywood is not in the business of vetting their writers or screenplays.

I’m starting to get depressed, so let’s wrap this up. Throughout the film, Carrey is dating a girl (Zooey Deschanel). She eventually learns his dirty little secret, gets mad, forgives him, the end. He finally stops saying yes when his ex-wife wants to have sex with him and bad things happen again. He finds the guy who cursed him and is told that he’s supposed to learn when to say yes and when to say no. Fuck him. He told Carrey to say yes to everything and didn’t give him an instruction booklet on the remaining rules. I wish Carrey had told him about the old woman blowing him, then punched him in the throat.

If you remove all of the crappy jokes and witless writing, it’s got a decent little human story. Just remember not to learn your morals from guys who think snorting hot sauce is funny.

Rating: The 99 cents it costs to rent a movie from McDonald’s. And get fries with that.

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