Most of the year-end movies look terrible after the Frank Borzage DVDs. The serious films repulse. The entertainment films bore. Even Jim Carrey misfires with Yes Man by playing Carl Allen, a depressed cynic who listens to a motivational speaker (Terence Stamp) then decides to embrace every life opportunity. Carl’s new ethic is exploited by his friends, and it alienates the kooky rock singer (Zooey Deschanel) he falls in love with. This suggests a half-baked version of Borzage’s 1937 Stranded where George Brent’s tough construction boss gets reintegrated into social benevolence by Kay Francis. Somehow, Hollywood’s contemporary cynics miss the point of Carl’s rebirth and offer this bizarre world version of Carrey’s ingenious Liar Liar.
Too bad Yes Man is directed by Peyton Reed, a tone-deaf, buzz-kill comedy specialist. You’ve never seen Carrey flail like he does under Reed’s incompetence—although the Quasimodo face he makes with scotch tape and some of his rubber-legged paroxysms are inspired. Right now, Carrey’s career is more troubled than Mickey Rourke’s—an avoidable point in the gag about custom-made celebrity look-a-like cakes. Carrey looks at the Mickey Rourke cake and in Yes Man’s best line worries, “I hope it doesn’t taste like Mickey Rourke.”
Directed by Peyton Reed, Running Time: 104 min.
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