Critics have unfairly dubbed YES MAN a shameless remake of Carrey's earlier hit LIAR LIAR, maybe because both contain a "high concept" about a man constrained to change his personality. In LIAR LIAR, a sleazebag lawyer is cursed to tell the truth for a whole day, resulting in lots of the trademark Carrey physical comedy as the lawyer's body rebels against his brain. By contrast, in YES MAN, Carrey voluntarily decides to say "yes" to life and shake-off the shy insularity that has imprisoned him post-divorce. As a result, we have a lot less physical comedy and the performance is much smaller than some fans might expect. I actually really liked Carrey in this new-found acting style - he works really well as a slightly goofy rom-com hero, and he has real chemistry with Zooey Deschanel.
The nascent romance between Carey and Deschanel provides the backbone of the movie, but the real humour is provided by the supporting cast. Danny Masterson (THAT 70s SHOW) is funny but under-used as best-friend Rooney and Fionnula Flanagan has a poor-taste but very funny cameo as a vampish grandma. But the guy who really steals the show is Rhys Darby, of FLIGHT OF THE CONCHORDS fame, who plays a David-Brent-esque boss. Comedy gold.
Overall, YES MAN isn't going to set the world on fire, but if you take it for what it is, it's a perfectly pleasant way to spend ninety minutes. Perhaps more of a DVD and pizza night movie than a trip to the cinema, though.
YES MAN is on release in Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the US. It's released next week in the UK, Portugal, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Poland. It's released on New Year's Day in Belgium, Australia and Greece and on January 8th in Egypt, Croatia, the Netherlands, Slovakia and Switzerland. It's released on January 15th in Argentina, Russia and Estonia and on January 22nd in Israel, Austria and Turkey. It's released on January 30th in Brazil; on February 12th in Hong Kong; on February 19th in Germany and on March 20th in Japan.