TITLE: Yes Man
GENRE: Comedy about living, laughing, loving, et al
THE PITCH: Depressed, noncommittal loan officer Carl (Jim Carrey) vows to answer "yes" to every question and opportunity life offers, leading to preposterous situations as well as romance with free-spirited musician/photographer Allison (Zooey Deschanel).
MONEY SHOTS: The self-empowerment seminar led by Terrence Stamp's intense guru. Carl's errant punch in a boozy, back-alley brawl. Carl's inability to say "no" to the indecent proposal of an elderly neighbor (Fionnula Flanagan). Carl's nerdy boss Norm ("Flight of the Conchords'" Rhys Darby) dressed as Ron Weasley, tearfully reciting the last words of the first Harry Potter movie.
BEST LINE: "I shot a cow with a bazooka! I'm not proud of that one, actually," admits one of Carl's old friends (John Michael Higgins) in his attempt to convert him to a "Yes Man."
FASHION STATEMENTS: Allison – and later, Carl – wears a helmet with cartoony eyes on the top. Carl dons red and white body paint and corn-cobb acoutrements at a Nebraska Cornhuskers football game. Norm throws Harry Potter and 300 costume parties.
FLESH FACTOR: While riding a motorcycle and wearing a hospital gown, Carrey briefly moons the camera at the climax. A puzzling sight gag of nude bodies en masse comes near the end.
MP3-TO-BE: Carrey and Deschanel croon "Can't Buy Me Love" a cappella after sneaking into the Hollywood Bowl. The soundtrack is filled with Eels songs, but audiences may be more intrigued by Deschanel's spunky performances with girl group Von Iva under the name "Munchausen by Proxy."
PRODUCT PLACEMENT: The filmmakers seem to have said "Yes" to every brand name that approached them. Carl gushes about Red Bull with all of Carrey's considerable hyperactivity. Carl pops wheelies on a Ducati motorcycle. Norm enthuses over his "exclusive" membership at Costco. Carl bounces on a Tempur-Pedic mattress to see if it can support a wine glass. Most of the other films referenced are also Warner Brothers properties.
HEY, WAIT A MINUTE: At work, Carl begins approving every loan requested of him, no matter how unlikely or small. It works out well for him, but isn't the indiscriminate approval of bad housing loans exactly what precipitated the current financial crisis?
THE BOTTOM LINE: Yes Man runs low on ideas in its last act and finds little support from Bradley Cooper and Danny Masterson as Carl's bland buddies. It's otherwise a charming, upbeat comedy with a genuinely positive message about living life to the fullest, like a lesser version of The 40 Year-Old Virgin. Just say "yes" – when it comes out on DVD.