Affirmative action

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

It's tempting to write off Jim Carrey's latest vehicle, Yes Man, as a manic, over-the-top romp, especially based on the trailer that features Carrey's Carl Allen on lots of Red Bull after an all-night rave. It's the kind of scene you'd expect from talking-out-his-butt Jim Carrey, who no one's missed since 1994.

Luckily, that level of hyper only pops up once or twice. For the most part, Yes Man plays like a new version of Liar Liar, a comedy with heart.

Carl is a depressed bank loan officer still reeling from his divorce three years prior. He spends most nights in line at Blockbuster, much to the chagrin of his neglected friends (Bradley Cooper and Danny Masterson).

All that changes when he's introduced to a new self-help guru (Terence Stamp), who forces him to say "yes" to every opportunity that comes along. It's at this point that Yes Man comes to life, with Carl engaging in one odd activity after another.

This eventually leads him to Allison (the always amazing Zooey Deschanel), the singer of a hilarious "artsy" band and the head of a simultaneous running/photography group.

Director Peyton Reed occasionally lets his movies get episodic - see the haphazard, almost-good Down with Love - and the film's third act is as trite as it gets. But helped by a strong cast, Yes Man turns out a sharp and pleasant return to form for Carrey.

"Yes Man"

Opens Friday

Grade: B