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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Yes Man (review)

Yes! We can take everything that is intriguingly dark and almost sinister about crying-on-the-inside clown Jim Carrey and make it light! and upbeat! and unambiguous! Yes! We can take Carrey’s 1997 appallingly awful hit Liar Liar — about an inveterate liar magicked into speaking nothing but the truth — and recycle it into a new movie that takes enforced cheerfulness to a new level of reactionary optimism! Like a Hollywoodized version of the British arthouse wonder Happy-Go-Lucky, this overly broad tale of a sad naysayer (Carrey: Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!) who self-helps his way to positivity via only ever saying Yes! to whatever opportunity crosses his path removes all subletly, sweetness, and humor from the idea of being open to life and replaces it with a childish black-and-white adherence to dogma that it would be an insult to cartoons to call cartoonish — any given Bugs Bunny short has spades more delicacy and sensitivity than this sorry excuse for a pleasant night out at the movies. Fantastical in intent but downright transparent in its phoniness, this also represents a new low for “corporate synergy,” embracing product placement of other Warner Bros. properties as some sort of measure of authentic living. Ugh.


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MPAA: rated PG-13 for crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity

viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine

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