Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yes Man

Life Knows No Barriers

It's been a while since Jim Carrey hit the screens, going back to his comedic roots after the rather lacklustre dramatic turn in the thriller The Number 23. But it's a somewhat muted Carrey we get, as gone out the window are the over the top antics and rubbery face, and in comes a fine balance between getting the laughs, as well as having some dramatic flair in crafting a believable working class character who is jaded with work and life in general, opting instead to coast through life almost like a recluse.

And when a friend told me that this character was somewhat familiar, I understand his point. I suppose most of us could probably identify with the very routine lives that we're leading, juggling work and whatever effort we can muster to have a semblance of balance, either with family, friends, or spending some quality time investing in oneself. But this means regressing into the tried, tested and safe, losing that spark that comes with the randomness of living, and the gaining of experience that would have been gained. In fact, it brought back some memories that I was once a Yes Man myself, and I won't deny that somewhere along the way I've taken a detour, though it was a conscious decision at that.

Jim Carrey plays Carl Allen, a junior loans officer at a bank who spends his time at work, and his personal life, in saying no to everyone and to opportunities, ignoring calls and well meaning efforts from friends to bring him out of his shell. But a life changing seminar (I've been to something similar, even though it was just a preview) with pop music, enthusiastic energizer-bunny type attendees, and an enigmatic speaker, would convince him to take the plunge into make a covenant to say yes to every opportunity that comes by. Not that he has any choice since the self-help guru is played by Terence Stamp, and nobody has the audacity to say no to General Zod. (Curiously, Terence Stamp has been in plenty of supporting roles of late).

So begins a series of situational comedies, most of which would already have been captured in the trailer. Carl begins to live life as he wanted to, taking lessons, meeting people, and what I found to be most appealing, would be to convert from a person of negative thoughts, to a positive thinking fellow. His new attitude opens doors, and almost instantly he reaps the benefits of this new found approach, the best of course is the encounter with hot chick Allison (Zooey Deschanel).

Besides the philosophy behind the movie, Yes Man is also a romance, with two random people who are totally opposites, coming together because of their spontaneity, and how strongly and positively different a relationship which isn't routine would provide for a couple. I suppose to a certain degree I tasted some form of success at this going where the wind brings approach, though that of course was a long time back. Naturally they fall heads over heels with each other, but like all romances, there's no such thing as smooth sailing, even though this takes place in the last act and rides to the finale fairly quickly.

I more than welcome Zooey Deschanel as the leading lady in Yes Man (I would say yes too *ahem*), because in my opinion she hasn't made a lot of films, and still has that refreshing appeal. If truth be told her Allison would be someone whom I'd sit up and take notice, because of her zest for life, and hey, here's someone multi-talented (ok, that might be debatable), coupled with some of her really unorthodox activities that look like fun, and miles from what I am doing anyway. I thought Jim Carrey had a field day acting opposite her, and that chemistry probably rubbed off and made them look like a cute couple who are up to totally crazy antics when they're out on their dates.

Based on the book by Danny Wallace, the turning point in the film, which tied up all the random elements pretty neatly for that push toward the final act, was well done and I couldn't help but to guffaw, that if I was in those shoes, I might be connecting the dots in the same manner and asking pointed questions as well. Along with a whole host of supporting cast ranging from Bradley Cooper as Carl's best friend Peter, Molly Sims as his ex-wife Stephanie and Rhys Darby in a hilarious role as his manager (and major geek) Norman, the soundtrack too serves as another highlight in the film, with songs mostly by Eels, and Zooey Deschanel herself lending her vocal chords to a number of songs here, where the lyrics are totally insane (she has part writing credit for those) which left me laughing out loud for the most parts.

So while I see the cinematic ways as to how saying Yes could change one's life but only with the intervention of fated coincidences, I guess there's no harm trying and giving the same philosophy a shot, right? So go ahead and say Yes together with me, but of course with some intelligence and common sense, and I'd expect all of us could hope to be in for some surprising change to our personal lives. And please say Yes too to sitting through the end credits - that little skate man idea looks totally awesome!

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