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Yes Man

5 January 09 words: Harry Wilding
The film adaption just doesn’t have the same charm and – not surprisingly – realism of the book.

Danny Wallace’s excellent 2005 book, Yes Man, was interesting, funny, had a good message and, of course, was true. It was about how he spent a year answering ‘yes’ to any given question or proposal and recording the results. The philosophy even inspired Jim Carrey, who plays the protagonist Carl Allen in the film adaption, to say ‘yes’ to many things during the production of this movie. He played the guitar, learned basic Korean, rode a sport bike and bungee-jumped. He did, however, say ‘no’ for the body blading scene. 

It is always easy to say that film adaptations of books should be more like their paper counterpart, but they are different medias. Saying that, only the basic idea remains the same in this case – Carl Allen decides to say ‘Yes’ to everything, however absurd the question or proposition, after attending a ‘Say Yes’ seminar in which the host (Terrance Stamp) gives him the whole idea for what he goes on to do for the rest of the movie.

Of course, this has the potential for much hilarity and does deliver it in small doses. However, it just doesn’t have the same charm and – not surprisingly – realism of the book. Wallace’s writing is extremely witty and all his books are page turners. Whereas, the film just becomes a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy, the only difference been its better than average basic idea.

A grittier British film in – perhaps – a more documentary style and with a voice over from the protagonist would no doubt have made for a far better film. But there you go – Wallace probably has lots of money, has met Jim Carrey, starred as an extra in a Hollywood film (watch out for him sitting at the bar during the wedding shower) and still has his integrity in tact – fair play to him.

So, in conclusion, it is a shame that a film which should make you say ‘Yes’ more, ends up making you wish you had said ‘No’ to seeing it in the first place.

Yes Man is currently showing at the Savoy and Cineworld cinemas in Nottingham.


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