Two-for-One Review: “Yes Man”

April 21, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Posted in Fiction, Memoir, Two-for-One Review | Leave a comment

When I heard of the book Yes Man, by Danny Wallace, I knew I had to read it.  Shortly after, I heard it was being made into a movie.  I had the chance to watch the film shortly after reading the book, so we’ll do some compare and contrast.

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First, I have to say that I adore Jim Carrey.

Second, I have to say that it would be almost impossible to imagine a book and a movie with less in common than these two.

Third, I was surprised that, this being the case, I enjoyed both.

The book Yes Man is a true story.  The premise is that this guy is a bit depressed and becoming a recluse, and one day he has an epiphany and decides that he has to say Yes to everything.  Complications ensue.  In this sense, the movie is based on the book.

But what did they do?  The book is set in London; the movie is set in LA.  The hero of the book is Danny Wallace; in the movie he’s suddenly Carl Allen.  Danny works as a journalist with a very loose schedule; Carl works at a bank and has to wear a suit, etc.  Danny has a random conversation with a stranger on the bus, leading to his ephiphany; Carl is dragged to a New Age seminar where thousands of other people already follow the Yes philosophy.  Both characters travel, help the homeless, learn new skills, and have to be dogsbody to their friends.  Otherwise almost every single plot point is different.

I loved Yes Man the book.  It made me snort with laughter several times.  I read parts of it out loud to anyone who would listen.  It had a really positive message, but it also included some healthy doses of reality.  I really enjoyed Yes Man the movie, but I suspect I would have enjoyed it more if I’d seen it before I read the book.  It was entertaining – especially the scenes when Zooey Deschanel performs in her band – but it got off to a slow start because Carrey’s character was so mopey.

So my recommendation is, see the movie, then read the book.  And maybe even consider trying to say Yes to everything yourself!  I have to say I’m tempted.

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