YESman (PG 13)

Staring: Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, Bradley Cooper, Rhys Darby, John Micheal Higgins, Terence Stamp
Directed by: Peyton Reed

Jim Carrey is back, and this time, he’s a (funny) grown up.

If you are like me, you can’t stare at Carrey’s perfect set of pearly white teeth and not remember the days when he revolutionized sketch comedy in In Living Color with his gut-busting routines. He caused me to laugh until I stopped breathing with movie scenes only he could pull off, such as in Ace Ventura where he emerges in fetal position from the wrong end of a fake rhinoceros suit. Of course those times where when my funny “bar” was about as low as the one at an expert limbo competition. And while in my teens, I would have rushed to see any Carrey flick, in my 30s, I would be wary to take a date to those same movies unless I intended to break up after.

As he’s aged, Carrey has diversified his repertoire past gross out humor and body-bending slapstick. The Truman Show, Spotless, and 23 showed he has a serious side, though in each movie I eagerly awaited a prat fall that I felt would happen at any moment. Now “adult” fans of his old work longed for an opportunity that could combine his unique brand of hilarity with something they wouldn’t be too ashamed to rent at a video store. YESman is the latest example of how Carrey’s humor has matured to appeal to people above the PG line, but hasn’t lost the ability to make you laugh from the inside out.

Carrey stars as Carl Allen, a divorcee drowning in self-pity and a few steps away from becoming a complete shut-in. He rejects any opportunity to socialize or interact, frustrating even his best friend played by Bradley Cooper. One day he meets an old pal played by John Michael Higgins, who convinces him to go to a self-help seminar. When the guru (Terence Stamp) corners him in front of a mass of YESmen acolytes, Allen is drawn into a covenant that obligates him to say “yes” to every opportunity that presents itself.

This new 1-step program takes Carl to places he would have never imagined, all within the small neighborhood he inhabits, and a few quick plane trips to the most random of places. During his adventures he meets Allison, played by Zooey Deschanel, who is a natural free spirit, and who challenges him on the real reasons he makes his decisions.

The movie is extremely funny, but grown up in it’s funny-ness. Yes, there are the signature slip and falls and Carrey’s rubber face is used to it’s distorted maximum, but it’s the surprisingly mature situations that keeps you laughing. The obsessive eagerness of new YESman self-help converts will have you thinking of your “Landmark” or “Kabalah” friends. The movie-themed parties Allen agrees to attend hosted by his boss will have you remembering the last time you reluctantly RSVP’d “yes” to that evite or facebook event knowing you’d be counting down the minutes to exit.

In additional to the laughs, I was impressed with the work Carrey did in the movie. That is actually him speaking Korean, playing guitar (and showcasing a decent set of pipes), bungee jumping, and riding a motorcycle. And while it’s hard to share the air with a man like Carrey, the rest of the cast do a great job showing a world any person would want to be a part of.

Despite the PG 13 rating, there isn’t much for the kiddies here. This is a romantic comedy in disguise, best suited for a date night out. You’ll be laughing all the way back to the babysitter’s to pick up the kids.

Your Daddy Time: Worth it or Wasted? Worth it! 4/5 stars

The Rating System is for dads who need to know one thing- Is this movie WORTH IT to:

* Pack up the kids, bags, etc and trek to the theater – or
* Find a babysitter so Dad can have a date night – or
* Cash in brownie points with the Mrs. so he can go with his buddies

If it doesn’t fit these simple criteria, the movie gets the WASTED rating, which means – don’t waste the precious time you have, wait for video/cable when you can squeeze it between chores, work and sleep.

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