There was a time when Jim Carrey’s comedic shtick was mildly amusing. Unfortunately for him (and us), that time passed eons ago. It’s a shame then that no-one’s told him that.
Jim’s next film is Yes Man, based on the extremely popular and highly likeable book by the equally popular and likeable Danny Wallace. As the trailer shows, Carey’s character is a natural pessimist, someone who says ‘no’ to everything and everyone for the sake of an easy life. When he visits a seminar, he ends up saying ‘yes’ to everything and everyone, with ‘hilarious’ consequences.
The big problem with this trailer, and I therefore assume with the finished product, is that Jim Carrey is so eminently unlikeable that it takes the sheen off what could otherwise have been a very fun little film. As he gurns, mumbles and guffaws his way through the two or three minutes on display, you just want to shake the guy and ask him why on earth he’s returned to light, undemanding comedy roles after his amazing turn in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. He seems to have accepted that he’s perfectly happy to turn in exactly the same performances he was ten years ago and just pick up the paycheque. No Jim. That’s not acceptable. You’re an actor for goodness sake. Expand your craft and use those skills you learned way back when. Don’t, as you do many, many times here, simply make some odd noises and contort your face a bit and think that that’s acceptable.
I don’t mind Jim doing comedy, far from it. It’s that I mind him doing lame comedy, which is exactly what this is. Replace Jim with someone like David Schwimmer or even Bradley Cooper (the other guy in the trailer, recognisable to Alias fans) and you’d not notice the difference. Well, except for they might gurn a little less, and be a little quieter.
My other problem with the trailer is that is looks like the producers and everybody involved have decided that what this film and its subject matter deserve is large scale comedy set pieces, loud uplifting songs (although one of them is by the fantastic Weezer) and lots of people bouncing around the place being really, and I hate this phrase, wacky. In fact, I’m positive that in the hand of a small, independent crew, a smaller budget and a general lessening of the bangs, the whoops and the saccharine gooiness that are all over this trailer, this film could have been a great reinterpretation of a pretty decent book. And who knows, it might just be.
As it happens, I won’t find out as I couldn’t be more put off by this teaser. From Carrey’s endless mugging to the crazy outfits of the peripheral characters and the annoying voiceover, it all just feels wrong. Not even the always lovely Zooey Deschanel can save this from looking like this Christmas’s biggest turkey.