Yes Man (UK - BD)
Our Marcus gives a resounding YES to this new Jim Carrey comedy on Blu-ray
After a little while in the mainstream wilderness with the not that bad Fun with Dick and Jane, the admittedly awful Number 23 and the still great but off-screen voice work for Horton Hears a Who, Jim Carrey returns to the sort of fare that made him a megastar.
In this new comedy, Jim plays Carl Allen, a 'No' man who flakes on his friends, hardly ever goes anywhere and after missing his best friend Peter’s (Bradley Cooper) engagement party realises that he might have to make a change. Lucky for him, he’s recently been told about the YES! seminar that’s in town, and after attending Carl’s life is about to change forever.
In the last few years the comedy world’s sensibilities have shifted. Apatow's dirtier movies are making the big bucks in the box office, comedy actors like Will Ferrell, Seth Rogan and Jack Black are the names that get people out to see comedies and while Jim Carrey is still a big name, he's played the field a little with a few chancier roles, some of which have paid off and some of which have had a lukewarm reception at best. Having never read, or indeed heard of, Danny Wallace’s book that the story is based on, it was Jim Carrey that got me to see this and I’m more than happy to say that his sparkle hasn’t gone anywhere.
Upfront I was wasn't sure this would work anymore. It seems to have been a fair while since Jim had done this sort of thing. The likes of Liar Liar and Bruce Almighty, in which his character’s life is changed by altering something in their lives, aren’t my favourites in his filmography and I was worried that this might be a desperate attempt to remind people of Jim’s high points and would ultimately come off as a bit of a failure. I am more than glad to report I was totally wrong on that one as well.
Jim Carrey is immediately on form, and thankfully quite grown up in his approach to the role. It’s not as level and dramatic as the epically great The Truman Show, The Majestic, Man on the Moon or more recently Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind but it’s nowhere near as out there as Ace Ventura or Dumb and Dumber either. His character is actually a nice mix of the two styles with a lot more emphasis on the laughs and they come thick and fast. Jim’s little remarks about moments or people are as golden as ever, his mannerisms spot on and with a couple of F-Bombs thrown in and some slightly dirtier material in places, Yes Man fits quite snugly into the modern climate without losing the Jim Carrey flavour of old.
The good news doesn’t stop there. The supporting cast in this movie are all totally on form as well. To begin with, I don’t think there’s a comedian around at the moment that puts a smile on my face quite as much as Rhys Darby. I adore him as Murray in Flight of the Conchords and the fact that this is essentially the same role but played against Jim Carrey couldn’t have been more welcome. The two have a great on screen chemistry and Jim Carrey seems more than happy to let Darby outshine him in a scene for the sake of more laughs, of which Darby provides a bucket load.
Next up there’s Terence Stamp. It’s only a small scene but my god, his YES! seminar is some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in a while. Playing a character who hilariously is actually called Terrence, I was absolutely pulled into this whole Yes Man idea just by his sheer awesomeness. The moments that have him delivering pure Stamp gold with the announcement ‘If the molehill won’t come to Terrence, then Terrence will have to come to the molehill’ while slipping out of his shoes and running over to Jim is just genius.
Lastly on the roster of delightful supporting cast is Zooey Deschanel. After her terrible turn in The Happening I didn’t think I could ever love her again. I was wrong. I fell for her in this in a big bad way. Not only is she using her fantastic singing voice to uber greatness as the lead singer in the movie's band ‘Munchausen by Proxy’, but she’s just about as funny and sweet as she always been (outside of The Crappening).
This was the second time I've watched Yes Man and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time, if not more. It’s not Jim Carrey’s best comedy, it has a few dud moments that make it feel out of date and the story is predictable as hell but it don’t matter because simply put, it's funny and it fits ‘like a glove’ into his much loved filmography. While I'm more than happy for Jim to pursue meatier and more dramatic roles in the future (especially if we get another as good as The Truman Show), I hope that he still comes back to fun, goofy, silly comedies like this once in a while because he proves without a doubt here that there’s still no one quite like him when it comes to this sort of stuff.
Straight off Yes Man looks all warm and clean and bright, just like a good HD transfer should. Black levels are quite good, with only the occasionally hints of them turning a little blue and textures are all represented well.
Even though this is a big glossy Hollywood comedy, I wouldn’t say it was as bright or as fond of high contrasts as many other out there. Many shots seemed quite naturally lit, with extremes only coming in warm morning sunlight or well-lit bar scenes.
Generally this is a pleasing transfer, even if it’s not an amazing one. It’s bit lacking in HD detail, but being a comedy, I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be groundbreaking on that front anyway.
The audio here was a little scatty in places. Most of the time it’s what you’d expect from a comedy, with dialogue residing comfortably in the front speakers and the odd use of the rears. One slight concern I had was that some scenes had a very noticeable change of range, with much if the dialogue upping sticks and seemingly only sitting in the centre speaker. What made this weirder was that it always seemed to be more noticeable in the wider shots adding a very confined feeling to the track.
This concern was only on a few scenes and largely ignorable but whether in the TrueHD of the basic Dolby Digital selection I couldn’t quite get it to feel right.
I’ll let you know now, that there isn’t as much here as it might seem, at least on overall runtime but I’ve got to say I enjoyed the majority of the extras included on this Blu-ray way more than I have others lately.
Starting off we get 'Downtime on the Set of Yes Man with Jim Carrey' (03:59 HD). This is essentially a gag reel of Jim's on set hi-jinks and generally it’s funny stuff as is the actual 'Gag Reel' (05:35 HD) which had me chuckling a whole lot.
Next up on the funny features is ‘Yes Man Party Central with Norman Stokes' (Rhys Darby) (02:36 HD) in which Darby in full Ron Weasley (from Harry Potter) get up , informs us he should not be mistaken for Eric Stoltz (brilliant) and shows us around his appartment in the movie in an MTV Cribs-esq style. For two and a half minutes this is an absolute blast.
Now for the feature I was most excited about, the ‘Munchausen by Proxy Music Videos’ of which there are five (14:33 HD) and features the songs in their full fantastic glory. Not only that, we get a spoof retro pop documentary 'Future Sound of Munchausen by Proxy' (05:28 HD) which features a history of the band and even a few clips from different music videos from their rise to fame.
Getting a little more serious (though not much) we get 'On Set with Danny Wallace: The original Yes Man' (08:32 HD), which is exactly what it says in the title and has him interviewing the cast and filming his cameo.
'Jim Carrey: Extreme Yes Man' (11:52 HD) runs us through the many stunts Jim had in the movie from downhill body skating (only used in the credits in the end), Ducati motorbike driving and of course the bungee jump. It’s all good stuff and rounding off with 'Say ‘Yes’ to Redbull' (02:06 HD) showing us that the Redbull scene did actually have Jim fuelled by Redbull to plenty of comic effect rounds up some of the most enjoyable Blu-ray features I’ve watched this year so far.
Yes Man was a pleasant surprise for me despite being a long time Jim Carrey fan. Because of this I can’t recommend the movie highly enough even though it's not the smartest, slickest or even funniest comedy I’ve seen of late.
As for the disc, features wise, all I can say is they put a smile on my face throughout even if they aren’t all that long and while the A/V is never staggering, it performs well enough to be considered good. So hey, why not give it a go. Why not say ‘Yes’ to Yes Man. It won’t change your life but it’ll make you smile.
* Note: The images on this page are not representative of the Blu-ray release.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 20th April 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 English, Descriptive Narration 5.1 English, Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Portuguese
Subtitles: English HOH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Extras: Digital Copy, Down Time on the Set of Yes Man with Jim Carrey, Extreme Yes Man, Gag Reel, Exclusive 'Munchausen by Proxy' Music Videos, Future Sounds: Munchausen by Proxy, On Set with Danny Wallace: The Original Yes Man, Yes Man Party Central with Norman Stokes (Rhys Darby), Say Yes! To Red Bull, Additional Scenes
Easter Egg: No
Director: Peyton Reed
Cast: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Rhys Darby
Length: 104 minutes