Yes Day? No Way!
Yes Day is flat, uninspiring and full of cookie cutter characters with no charisma. Yes Day is a family flick but without the warm gooey center that makes these films such a guilty pleasure. Sure, there will be some kids that enjoy this, but given the PG tagline it seems the intention here is to watch as a family. That’s a bit of a problem, because Yes Day features nothing to keep the adults entertained and very basic stuff for kids that’s been done far better elsewhere.
You’ll probably figure out where this film is going within the first 5 minutes too. It’s within this timeframe that we’re introduced to a fun little montage, showing Allison and Carlos as daredevils and always getting involved in fun and wacky schemes. From sky diving to hiking, the pair eventually find themselves, like so many others, letting these things go as they settle down and have kids. Together, they raise three children, Katie, Nando and Ellie.
Predictably, what began as a life of “yes, absolutely!” and “bring it on!” soon turned to a barrage of “no.” “put that down!” and “I told you to stop!” – phrases any parent will immediately empathize with.
Well, with the kids feeling like they’re oppressed, Allison and Carlos become inspired by Mr Deacon’s suggestion of throwing a yes day for the kids. Desperate to rekindle that fun-loving essence they had years before, Allison and Carlos pitch the idea to their kids.
In its simplest form, a yes day allows for the kids to have free reign for 24 hours, dictating what the family do, where they go and how they go about it with no exceptions.
This sets up a fun series of frolics to ensue, promising a fun packed day full of laughs, outrageous pranks and craziness. In reality, Yes Day delivers an average Saturday afternoon of mild chuckles (mostly from Jean and Karen at the hospital), uninspiring slapstick and some pretty cookie cutter activities.
Aside from certain dangerous and messy stunts late on, there’s actually nothing here that a parent wouldn’t do on a random Saturday afternoon with their kids. An ice-cream challenge? Putting on make-up with your daughter? Visiting an amusement park? Well, all these things aren’t exactly crazy and this mildness ultimately undermines the entire concept of the movie.
The whole notion of this being a “yes” day opens up so many interesting and wacky ideas but the lack of imagination really hurts this movie. It doesn’t help either that this movie is already overshadowed by Jim Carrey’s “Yes Man”, which took this same concept, went big and never looked back. That was 13 years ago and Yes Day is in no hurry to try and usurp that comedic romp.
There’s a clear desire to channel that close-knit family set-up seen in so many other movies of its kind, but forced jokes and a contrived set-up do nothing to really help this one. Instead, a lot of the lines fall flat and you never get a sense of who these kids really are outside of their pigeon-holed archetypes.
It’s a shame too because there’s certainly some stand-out moments here. There’s an obvious theme surrounding trusting your kids to leave the nest (literally show as a visual metaphor midway through the movie) but it’s wrapped up in a screenplay that’s neither funny nor particularly unique.
Instead, what we’re left with is a movie that could have been a fun little family flick but one that’s very clearly said yes to one too many ideas while pitching to Netflix. Given the wealth of other family features out there, Yes Day is a resounding no from us.