Yes Man (film)

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Not to be confused with The Yes Men (film).
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 dates
  • 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
Language English
Budget $70 million
Box office $223.2 million[1]

Yes Man is a 2008 British–American 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 book Yes Man by British humorist Danny Wallace, who also makes a cameo appearance in the film.

The film was a box office success, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics. It was released on December 19, 2008, opening at No. 1 at the box office in its first weekend with $18.3 million and was then released on December 26, 2008 in the United Kingdom going straight to the top of the box office in its first weekend after release. Production for the film began in October 2007 in Los Angeles.


Bank loan officer Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) has become withdrawn since his divorce from ex-wife Stephanie. He has an increasingly negative outlook on his life and routinely ignores his friends Pete (Bradley Cooper) and Rooney (Danny Masterson). An old colleague 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 Bundley (Terence Stamp). Bundley 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 in Elysian Park. Disillusioned, he hikes to a gas station where he meets Allison (Zooey Deschanel), 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 (Fionnula Flanagan), and then falls down the stairs and is nearly attacked by a dog. Seeing the repercussions of saying no, he goes back to Tillie.

Carl starts to seize every opportunity that comes his way. He renews his friendships with Pete and Rooney; builds a bond with his boss, Norman; assists Pete's fiancée, Lucy (Sasha Alexander), 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 asks Carl 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. Pete, 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 (Vivian Bang), 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. The two are taken to a hospital. After Carl recovers consciousness, Terrence tells Carl that there was no covenant. The starting point was merely 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 British 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. Danny 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 also mastered basic Korean for a scene. A language coach was hired to help Carrey learn the language accurately. This was the same process 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]

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-girl 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.[6][7] 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.[8] 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".[9]

The introduction music at the beginning of the movie 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[edit]

Yes Man generated mixed reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 46%, based on 151 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."[10] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100, based on 30 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[11]

Many critics thought that its plot was too similar to Carrey's 1997 film Liar Liar.[12]

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,"[13] while Kyle Smith of The New York Post countered in his review that, "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."[14] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 2 stars out of 4.[15]

Box office[edit]

Despite the mixed critical reception, the film opened No. 1 in its first weekend at the US box office with $18.3 million,[16] and went straight to the top of the UK box office in its first weekend after release.[17]

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
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
2009 Teen Choice Awards
2009 Kid's Choice Awards

Home media[edit]

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.


  1. ^ "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, December 10, 2008. Retrieved from
  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. ^
  6. ^ Jennifer Maerz (August 21, 2008). "Von Iva Teams Up with Zooey Deschanel". 
  7. ^ Troup, Christina (December 4, 2008). "Von Iva: ‘Girls on Film’". San Francisco Examiner. 
  8. ^ "Von Iva: Yes Women". December 8, 2008. Retrieved December 9, 2008. 
  9. ^ Thompson, Paul (November 21, 2008). "Zooey Deschanel, Eels Affirm Yes Man Soundtrack". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved December 23, 2008. 
  10. ^ "Yes Man Movie Reviews". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved August 5, 2009. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Critics Consensus: No To Yes Man; Seven Pounds Is Too Heavy". Rotten Tomatoes. December 18, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  13. ^ "Miami Herald Yes Man Review". The Miami Herald. December 19, 2008. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  14. ^ Smith, Kyle (December 19, 2008). "Oh, no! 'Yes' is a mess". The New York Post. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  15. ^ Yes Man, Retrieved July 17, 2009
  16. ^ "Weekend Box Office Results for 19–21 December 2008". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 21, 2008. 
  17. ^ "Carrey comedy tops UK box office". BBC News. December 30, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2008. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Wallace, Danny (November 2008). Yes Man (Paperback). Simon Spotlight Entertainment. ISBN 1-4165-9553-8. 

External links[edit]