Yes Man



Carrey comedy breaks no new ground but draws ample laughs.
Popular with kids
  • Review Date: December 19, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A man learns only to say "yes" when he means it.

Positive role models

A man tries to inject joy and excitement into his life by saying "yes"
to any opportunity that comes his way, even if he doesn't want to.  In
doing so, he misleads others into thinking that he's saying "yes"
because he wants to, though he doesn't mean any harm.


A man gets beaten up after he unknowingly makes a pass at someone else's girlfriend while drunk. He makes matters worse by hurling more insults during the fight. Another character throws a rock at a window and shatters it, causing guards to come running after him.


Kissing (some chaste, some fairly passionate); a man shows off his backside while wearing a hospital gown. An elderly woman propositions a much younger man and pleasures him orally; she takes off her dentures, and then the man's face is shown on camera morphing from overwhelmed to shocked to ecstatic.


A fair amount for a PG-13-rated film. Words include "bastard," "s--t," "f--k," and more.


Hello, product placement! The treatment is sort of subtle, but many brands are name checked, including Starbucks, Super Shuttle, Big 5, Sports Chalet, Brea Federal, Nokia, Rolling Rock, and more.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A fair amount of imbibing -- mostly social drinking, though sometimes the goal is to get drunk.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy will likely appeal to young Jim Carrey fans excited to see him back on familiar (i.e. non-dramatic) turf. Although it's not as crude as the "gross out" comedies that have been so popular recently, there is some iffy stuff -- including a scene in which an elderly woman offers to perform oral sex on the main character (his facial expressions are shown) and another in which his bare butt is visible. There's also plenty of swearing -- everything from "ass" to "f--k" -- and a lot of product placement.

What's the story?

Sandbagged by a divorce, Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is a virtual recluse, content to shuttle between his Los Angeles apartment and the bank where he works as a loan officer. If he does venture out, it's to the video store to pick up the DVDs he prefers to watch alone or to the coffee shop, where he won't even take a flier from the guy handing them out front. "No" is his favorite word: He screens his calls, dodges his friends, and has pretty much dropped out of life. But a chance encounter brings him to a seminar run by self-help guru Terrence Bundley (Terrence Stamp) whose rallying cry to his followers is to literally say "yes" to everything. And that Carl does, for better or worse.

Is it any good?


Welcome back, Jim Carrey! After an extended hiatus from comedy -- his last live-action movie was the 2007 thriller The Number 23, and before that, 2005's Fun with Dick and Jane -- in YES MAN Carrey has found a vehicle that again makes the most of his elastic face and spastic humor. In many ways, it's reminiscent of Liar Liar -- only here he doesn't have to tell the truth, just say "yes." Carrey has mellowed just a little with age, too, which is perfect for the role. Co-star Zooey Deschanel is the perfect complement; as Alison, the jogging photographer/singer Carl falls in love with, she's offbeat enough to take the saccharine off, but still sweet enough to give Yes Man heart.

Still, some of the movie's gags are pretty done before they even get started. Getting laughs out of showing a hospital gown-clad man's backside? Been there, done that (see Jack Nicholson in Something's Gotta Give). The Internet jokes -- wife-finding Web sites, genital enhancement spam -- are fairly stale, too. But in a year filled with gross-out Apatow-ian films, it's somewhat of a relief to sit back and lose yourself in a traditional comedy that's absurdly cheesy, but in a good way. And the premise (the film was inspired by a memoir by Danny Wallace) is intriguing: If you say "no" to life, then it responds in kind to you, so why not go for it? Yes Man isn't exactly original, but it's fun.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why kids want to see this movie -- is it because of the story or because Jim Carrey is in it?

  • What makes something a "Jim Carrey" comedy? Would you like his movies

  • as much if a different actor starred in them? Do you like his dramatic

  • movies? Why or why not?

  • Discuss the movie's message. Why is Carl the way he

  • is in the beginning? What does he learn? Is the lesson applicable in

  • real life, or just fodder for a Hollywood blockbuster?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 19, 2008
DVD release date:April 7, 2009
Cast:Bradley Cooper, Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel
Director:Peyton Reed
Studio:Warner Bros.
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:crude sexual humor, language and brief nudity

This review of Yes Man was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 13 years old Written byEricCarrRulez February 23, 2011

Perfect for Older Kids and tweens but not little kids.

Loved it.Best if older people watch it as to kids 9 and under.12+ to watch
Kid, 11 years old September 2, 2011


It was kind of funny but some bad scenes.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written byJadenp February 14, 2011
Suggested MPAA Rating: PG-13 for crude sexual humor throughout, some strong language, and nudity
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing


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