Yes Man (Movie Review)

Jim Carrey is mostly known for his comical acting. Very few people know however that Jim Carrey also has a “spiritual” side as you can hear in this speech for the Global Alliance for Transformational Entertainment, while he is introducing Eckhart Tolle. In the Yes Man movie (IMDB rating 6.8/10), which was released in 2008 and perhaps one of his lesser known films, these two sides of Jim perfectly blend together.

The film is based  on the memoirs of  Danny Wallace, a well known writer and television producer, who “withdrew” from life after being dumped by his girlfriend in 2003. Then, one day Danny meets an old Asian man who suggests him to say yes to life more often, which Danny did for 6 months while keeping a diary of his experiences. In 2005 he publishes the book Yes Man on which the film is based.

Story about saying Yes to life

In Yes Man, Jim Carrey plays Carl, a bank employee who has basically given up on life after his divorce. His days are filled with boring work, watching videos in the evening and going to sleep. He avoids his friends as much as he can and they become more and more concerned about him, but are unable to do anything about it.

Then, one day, after missing his best friends engagement party and waking up from an awful dream, Carl realizes that he has to turn his life around. He decides to attend the Yes seminar, which was suggested by a former colleague. The “Yes is the new No” convention scene, where Carl is challenged by the “Guru” to make a covenant with himself to start saying yes to everything in his life, is brilliant. However, the covenant also stipulates that if he doesn’t say yes, something bad will happen to him.

Daring to say Yes to everything

It is easy to imagine how hilarious the movie unfolds when Carl starts to say yes to everything wholeheartedly, after he experiences first that saying no indeed causes all kinds of accidents. Just imagine a scene where Carl is offered a sexual favor by a very old lady after he fixes something in her house…or when words get out that he is the only credit officer in town that always says yes to a loan application…

What I like about all these scenes is that they initially seem to confirm the general belief that if you start to say yes to everything you will be taken advantage of and then show an unexpected positive twist. For example, Carl is being summoned to meet with an executive of the bank, fearing that he will be fired for all the loans that he has randomly approved, only to be congratulated for his supposed savvy marketing and risk management, i.e. creating a large portfolio of micro loans, and he is promoted to work with the “big boys”.

Carl is living in the fast lane and is completely in the flow until he hesitates to say yes at a crucial moment. I won’t go into the details but you will find the movie taking some surprising and humorous twists and turns towards the end with a grand finale, Hollywood style, when Carl finally gets it how to live his life.

Conclusion/trailer with interview

Everyone who has seen the movie confirmed that, like me, they felt incredibly inspired and energized by the film. There is definitely an energy in the movie that will get your passion going and who knows what you will experience in your life once you start to say Yes more often…

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