Yes Man (film)

Last updated

Yes Man
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Peyton Reed
Produced by
Screenplay by
Based on Yes Man
by Danny Wallace
Music by
Cinematography Robert D. Yeoman
Edited by Craig Alpert
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date
  • December 9, 2008 (2008-12-09)(London)
  • December 19, 2008 (2008-12-19)(United States)
  • December 26, 2008 (2008-12-26)(United Kingdom)
Running time
104 minutes
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
Budget$70 million [1]
Box office$223.2 million [1]

Yes Man is a 2008 comedy film directed by Peyton Reed, written by Nicholas Stoller, Jarrad Paul, and Andrew Mogel and starring Jim Carrey and co-starring Zooey Deschanel. The film is based loosely on the 2005 memoir of the same name by humorist Danny Wallace, who also makes a cameo appearance in the film.


Production for the film began in Los Angeles in October 2007. It was released on December 19, 2008 in the United States and was then released in the United Kingdom on December 26, 2008. The film received mixed reviews from critics, but was a box office success, making $223 million worldwide.


Carl, a bank loan officer, has become withdrawn since his divorce from his former wife Stephanie. He has an increasingly negative outlook on his life and routinely ignores his friends Peter and Rooney. An old colleague, Nick, suggests that he goes to a motivational "Yes!" seminar with him, which encourages its attendants to seize the opportunity to say "Yes!". Carl attends and meets inspirational guru Terrence. Terrence publicly forces a reluctant Carl to promise to answer "Yes!" to every opportunity, request, or invitation that presents itself.

Later, Carl says yes to a homeless man's request and is stranded out-of-gas and with no battery on his cell phone in Elysian Park. Disillusioned, he hikes a lot to find out a gas station where he meets Allison, an unorthodox young woman. She gives him a ride back to his car on her scooter and kisses him before leaving. After this positive experience, Carl feels more optimistic about saying yes. However, he refuses oral sex from his elderly neighbor Tillie, and then falls down the stairs and is nearly attacked by a dog. Seeing the repercussions of saying no, he goes back to Tillie and to his surprise enjoys the moment.

Carl starts to seize every opportunity that comes his way. He renews his friendships with Peter and Rooney; builds a bond with his nerdy boss, Norman; assists Peter's fiancée, Lucy, with her bridal shower; attends Korean language classes; and much more. He earns a corporate promotion at work and, making use of his guitar lessons, plays Third Eye Blind's song "Jumper" to persuade a man not to commit suicide. Accepting a band flyer outside of a coffee shop, he sees an idiosyncratic band called Munchausen by Proxy; the lead singer is Allison. He is charmed by her quirkiness; she is charmed by his spontaneity and the two begin dating.

Carl and Allison meet at the airport for a spontaneous weekend excursion. Having decided to take the first plane out of town, regardless of its destination, they end up in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they bond more. Allison confesses her love for Carl and asks him to move in with her and he hesitantly agrees. While checking in for the return flight, Carl and Allison are detained by FBI agents who have profiled him as a potential terrorist because he has taken flying lessons, studied Korean, approved a loan to a fertilizer company, met an Iranian, and bought plane tickets at the last minute. Peter, his attorney, travels to Nebraska to explain Carl's odd habits, lessons, and decisions. As she finds out about Carl's motivational covenant, Allison begins to doubt whether his commitment to her was ever sincere. Deciding that she can no longer trust him, Allison leaves Carl and refuses to return his phone calls.

Carl's life takes a turn for the worse and he almost forgets about Lucy's shower. He manages to arrange a major surprise shower, set his friend Norm up with Soo-Mi, a Korean girl, and Rooney with Tillie. After the party, Carl receives a tearful phone call from Stephanie, whose new boyfriend has walked out on her. When Carl goes to Stephanie's apartment to comfort her, she kisses him and asks him to spend the night with her. After Carl emphatically says no, his luck takes a turn for the worse and he decides to end his commitment to the covenant.

Carl goes to the convention center and hides in the backseat of Terrence's convertible so that he can beg to be released from the covenant. Carl emerges as Terrence drives off, and an oncoming vehicle collides with Terrence, resulting in the two being taken to a hospital. After Carl recovers consciousness, Terrence tells Carl that the covenant was not real, but it was merely a starting point to open Carl's mind to other possibilities, not to permanently take away his ability to say no if he needed to. Freed from this restraint, Carl finds Allison teaching a sports-photography lesson and admits that he is not ready to move in with her just yet, but that he genuinely loves her, and they reconcile with a kiss as Allison's students take pictures.



Yes Man is based on a memoir of the same name by humourist Danny Wallace. The book tells of the 6-month period in which he committed himself to saying 'Yes' to everything based on a brief conversation with a stranger he met on the bus. Wallace also has a cameo in the film, in the final bar-scene of the movie, in which he is speaking to someone behind Danny Masterson. [2]

Jim Carrey declined an upfront salary for his role in the film. He was instead paid 36.2% of the film's gross after its production and marketing costs were recovered. [3]

During shooting of a scene where Carrey's character bungee jumps off a bridge, Carrey interrupted and asked to do the stunt himself. [4] Carrey stated to the stunt double that he intended to do it in one take. When he jumps off, he is seen taking out a cell phone for the scene.

While shooting the scene in the bar where Carrey's character turns around into a waitress and falls flat on his back, Carrey executed the stunt incorrectly and fell to the floor harder than he expected, breaking three ribs in the process. [5]

Carrey learned basic Korean for a scene. Language coach John Song was hired to teach Carrey for ten weeks. [6] Similarly extensive training was needed for the scenes in which Carrey's character learns to play the guitar; Carrey tried to play during the years of his childhood, but "quit before ever learning a chord". Carrey said in an interview with HBO: "Just learning the basic chords was maybe the most challenging part of any movie I've worked on in my career. Peyton [Reed] even joked about the guitar part being dubbed, or just cut altogether." Reed played the song "Jumper" by Third Eye Blind, which had a high number of digital downloads after the film's theatrical release.[ citation needed ] After the final date of filming, Carrey "retired" his set guitar, and Deschanel kept it. When asked about this, Carrey said: "I'll never need that, or any guitar ever again; guitar is not for me! Never has been, never will be!"[ citation needed ] [6]

The film's soundtrack features original music by Munchausen by Proxy, a fictional band named after the Münchausen syndrome by proxy (a psychological disorder). In the film, the band consists of actress Deschanel on lead vocals and the San Francisco-based all-female band Von Iva, a trio of vocals, keyboards and drums. Von Iva's members collaborated with Deschanel, a singer-songwriter and one half of the duo She & Him, on writing and recording the band's songs for the film. [7] [8] Von Iva got the part of the fictional ensemble in the film after the movie's music supervisor, Jonathan Karp, saw the cover of their CD in Amoeba in Hollywood. [9] For the DVD/Blu-ray release of the film, Deschanel and Von Iva filmed a spoof MTV music show-style documentary on the band for which they filmed mock music videos for several of the songs; the home video release also includes full-length performances by the group that were not included in the film.

The soundtrack also features nine songs by Eels, including a brand-new song entitled "Man Up". [10]

The introduction music at the beginning of the film from Carrey's ringtone comes from the song "Separate Ways" by Journey. It is also featured when Carrey's character bails out from the hospital to catch the joggography at 6 am.


Critical reception

Yes Man received mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 46%, based on 153 reviews, with an average rating of 5.3. The site's consensus reads, "Jim Carrey's comic convulsions are the only bright spots in this otherwise dim and predictable comedy." [11] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [12] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale. [13] [14]

Many critics thought that its plot was too similar to Carrey's 1997 film Liar Liar . [15]

In his review for The Miami Herald , Rene Rodriguez wrote, "Yes Man is fine as far as Jim Carrey comedies go, but it's even better as a love story that just happens to make you laugh." [16] Kyle Smith of The New York Post wrote: "The first time I saw Yes Man, I thought the concept was getting kind of stale toward the end. As it turns out, that was only the trailer." [17] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 2 out of 4, and compared it to Liar Liar . He said "Jim Carrey works the premise for all it's worth, but it doesn't allow him to bust loose and fly.". [18]

Box office

The film opened No. 1 in its first weekend at the US box office with $18.3 million, [19] and was top of the UK box office in its first weekend after release. [20]

To date, the film has taken in more than $220 million worldwide, surpassing Jim Carrey's previous comedy Fun with Dick and Jane but falling short of his 2003 film Bruce Almighty .


2009 BMI Film Music Award
Best Music – Lyle Workman (Won)
2009 Taurus World Stunt Awards
Best Overall Stunt by a Woman – Monica Braunger (Nominated)
2009 Artios Awards
Best Casting – David Rubin & Richard Hicks (Nominated)
2009 MTV Movie Awards
Best Comedic PerformanceJim Carrey (Won)
2009 Teen Choice Awards
Choice Movie Actor – ComedyJim Carrey (Nominated)
Choice Movie Rockstar Moment – Jim Carrey (Nominated)
Choice Movie Hissy FitJim Carrey (Nominated)
Choice Movie: Comedy (Nominated)
2009 Kid's Choice Awards
Favorite Movie Actor – Jim Carrey (Nominated)

Home media

The DVD and Blu-ray were released on April 7, 2009. Customers have the option of the single-disc edition and the 2 disc edition titled the "Ultimately Yes!" edition.

Related Research Articles

Jim Carrey Canadian-American actor and comedian

James Eugene Carrey is a Canadian-American actor, comedian, writer, producer, and artist. Known for his energetic slapstick performances, Carrey first gained recognition in 1990, after landing a recurring role in the American sketch comedy television series In Living Color (1990–1994). He broke out as star in motion pictures with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber. This was followed up with Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Batman Forever, and Liar Liar (1997).

<i>Man on the Moon</i> (film) 1999 film by Miloš Forman

Man on the Moon is a 1999 biographical comedy-drama film about the late American entertainer Andy Kaufman, starring Jim Carrey as Kaufman. The film was directed by Miloš Forman and also features Danny DeVito, Courtney Love, and Paul Giamatti.

<i>Bruce Almighty</i> 2003 film by Tom Shadyac

Bruce Almighty is a 2003 American religious comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and written by Steve Koren, Mark O'Keefe and Steve Oedekerk. The film stars Jim Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a down-on-his-luck television reporter who complains to God that he is not doing his job correctly and is offered the chance to try being God himself for one week. The film is Shadyac and Carrey's third collaboration, as they had worked together previously on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994 and Liar Liar in 1997. It co-stars Jennifer Aniston, Philip Baker Hall and Steve Carell.

Danny Wallace (humorist) British filmmaker, comedian, writer, actor, and presenter of radio and television

Daniel Frederick Wallace is a British filmmaker, comedian, writer, actor, and presenter of radio and television. His notable works include the books Join Me, Yes Man, voice acting as the narrator for Thomas Was Alone and as Shaun Hastings for the Assassin's Creed game series, as well as the TV series How to Start Your Own Country.

<i>Elf</i> (film) 2003 comedy film starring Will Ferrell directed by Jon Favreau

Elf is a 2003 American Christmas comedy film directed by Jon Favreau and starring Will Ferrell, James Caan, Zooey Deschanel, Mary Steenburgen, Daniel Tay, Bob Newhart and Ed Asner. The film centers on Buddy, a human who was adopted and raised by Santa's elves. He learns about this and heads to New York City to meet his biological father while also spreading Christmas cheer in a world of cynics in the process.

<i>Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls</i> 1995 American comedy film directed by Steve Oedekerk

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls is a 1995 American detective comedy film and the sequel to Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994). Jim Carrey reprises his role as the title character Ace Ventura, a detective who specializes in retrieval of tame and captive animals, and has been summoned to Africa to locate a missing bat, which happens to be the one creature he despises. Ian McNeice, Simon Callow, and Sophie Okonedo co-star. Tommy Davidson, who co-starred with Carrey on the show In Living Color, makes a cameo appearance in the film.

<i>Dumb and Dumber</i> 1994 comedy film by Peter Farrelly

Dumb and Dumber is a 1994 American comedy film directed by Peter Farrelly, who co-wrote the screenplay with Bobby Farrelly and Bennett Yellin. Starring Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, it tells the story of Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels), two dumb but well-meaning friends from Providence, Rhode Island, who set out on a cross-country trip to Aspen, Colorado, to return a briefcase full of money to its owner, thinking it was abandoned as a mistake though it was actually left as ransom money. Lauren Holly, Karen Duffy, Mike Starr, Charles Rocket, and Teri Garr play supporting roles.

Zooey Deschanel American actress, model, musician, and singer-songwriter

Zooey Claire Deschanel is an American actress, model, musician, and singer-songwriter. She made her film debut in Mumford (1999) and had a supporting role in Cameron Crowe's film Almost Famous (2000). Deschanel is known for her deadpan roles in comedy films such as The Good Girl (2002), The New Guy (2002), Elf (2003), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005), Failure to Launch (2006), Yes Man (2008), and 500 Days of Summer (2009). She has also ventured into dramatic film territory with Manic (2001), All the Real Girls (2003), Winter Passing (2005), Bridge to Terabithia (2007), and The Driftless Area (2015). From 2011 to 2018, she starred as Jessica Day on the Fox sitcom New Girl, for which she received nominations for a Primetime Emmy Award and three Golden Globe Awards.

<i>The Mask</i> (1994 film) 1994 comedy film by Chuck Russell

The Mask is a 1994 American superhero comedy film directed by Charles Russell, produced by Bob Engelman, and written by Mike Werb, loosely based on the Mask comics published by Dark Horse Comics. The first installment in the Mask franchise, it stars Jim Carrey in the title role, Peter Riegert, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Richard Jeni, and Cameron Diaz in her film debut. Carrey plays Stanley Ipkiss, a hapless bank clerk who finds a magical mask that transforms him into The Mask, a mischievous green-faced troublemaker with the ability to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will who later becomes a crimefighter, only to become targeted by gangster Dorian Tyrell, who intends to use the mask to overthrow his superior.

<i>Failure to Launch</i> 2006 film by Tom Dey

Failure to Launch is a 2006 American romantic comedy film directed by Tom Dey, and starring Matthew McConaughey and Sarah Jessica Parker. The film focuses on a 35-year-old man living with his parents who shows no interest in leaving the comfortable life that they, especially his mother, have made for him. It was released on March 10, 2006, and grossed over $128 million.

<i>Winter Passing</i> 2005 American film directed by Adam Rapp

Winter Passing is a 2005 American film directed by playwright Adam Rapp and starring Ed Harris, Zooey Deschanel, Will Ferrell, Amelia Warner, Amy Madigan, and Dallas Roberts. It is Rapp's directorial debut. The film premiered in 2005 to mixed reviews, and was not released in the United Kingdom until 2013, when it was released under the new title Happy Endings.

Peyton Reed American television and film director

Peyton Tucker Reed is an American television and film director. He directed the comedy films Bring It On (2000), Down with Love (2003), The Break-Up (2006) and Yes Man (2008), as well as the superhero films Ant-Man (2015) and its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).

Von Iva

Von Iva was an all-girl electro soul-punk group out of San Francisco.

She & Him

She & Him is an American musical duo consisting of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. The band's first album, Volume One, was released on Merge Records in March 2008.

<i>500 Days of Summer</i> 2009 American film directed by Marc Webb

500 Days of Summer is a 2009 American romantic comedy-drama film by first-time director Marc Webb from a screenplay written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, and produced by Mark Waters. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, and employs a nonlinear narrative structure, with the story based upon its male protagonist and his memories of a failed relationship.

A Yes man is a sycophant; an obsequious assistant or enabler.

Manic Pixie Dream Girl Stock character type

A Manic Pixie Dream Girl (MPDG) is a stock character type in films. Film critic Nathan Rabin, who coined the term after observing Kirsten Dunst's character in Elizabethtown (2005), said that the MPDG "exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures."

<i>Flakes</i> (film) 2007 American comedy film

Flakes is a 2007 American comedy film directed by Michael Lehmann and starring Aaron Stanford and Zooey Deschanel. This film was written by Chris Poche & Karey Kirkpatrick.

Jim Carrey filmography wikimedia list article

The Canadian-American actor and comedian Jim Carrey has appeared in various feature films, television films and series, and one video game. He is one of the top-50 highest-grossing actors of all time at the North American box office, with over $2.5 billion total gross and an average of $94.3 million per film. He has been involved with thirteen films that grossed over $200 million at the worldwide box office; the highest grossing one was Bruce Almighty.


  1. 1 2 "Yes Man (2008)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved April 28, 2015.
  2. Reynolds, Simon (December 10, 2008). "Video: DS at the 'Yes Man' premiere". Digital Spy . Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  3. Paskin, Willa (December 14, 2008). "Jim Carrey's Deal of the Century (Or Not)". New York magazine. Retrieved December 25, 2008.
  4. Steve Chupnick (January 31, 2008). "Jim Carrey Says Yes to Bungie Jump". Retrieved March 4, 2008.
  5. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on December 21, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. 1 2 Emanuel Levy (December 6, 2008). "Yes Men: Jim Carrey on his Role". Never touched a guitar after we wrapped. Why touch it when there are people like Eric Clapton in the world
  7. Jennifer Maerz (August 21, 2008). "Von Iva Teams Up with Zooey Deschanel".
  8. Troup, Christina (December 4, 2008). "Von Iva: 'Girls on Film'". San Francisco Examiner. Archived from the original on December 5, 2008. Retrieved December 4, 2008.
  9. "Von Iva: Yes Women". December 8, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2008.
  10. Thompson, Paul (November 21, 2008). "Zooey Deschanel, Eels Affirm Yes Man Soundtrack". Pitchfork Media. Archived from the original on December 25, 2008. Retrieved December 23, 2008.
  11. "Yes Man Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  12. "Yes Man". Metacritic . Retrieved September 23, 2017.
  13. Brandon Gray (December 22, 2008). "'Yes Man,' 'Seven Pounds' Lead Quiet Pre-Christmas Weekend". Box Office Mojo .
  14. "YES MAN (2008) A-". CinemaScore . Archived from the original on December 20, 2018.
  15. "Critics Consensus: No To Yes Man; Seven Pounds Is Too Heavy". Rotten Tomatoes . December 18, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008.[ dead link ]
  16. "Miami Herald Yes Man Review". The Miami Herald . December 19, 2008. Archived from the original on May 3, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  17. Smith, Kyle (December 19, 2008). "Oh, no! 'Yes' is a mess". The New York Post. Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  18. Ebert, Roger (December 17, 2008). "Negatory". Chicago Sun-Times .
  19. "Weekend Box Office Results for 19–21 December 2008". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved December 21, 2008.
  20. "Carrey comedy tops UK box office". BBC News. December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008.

Further reading