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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Yes Man [Blu-ray]

 

(Peyton Reed, 2008)

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner

 

Disc:

Region: A

Runtime: 1:44:23.215

Disc Size: 30,791,245,061 bytes

Feature Size: 22,413,121,536 bytes

Average Bitrate: 28.63 Mbps

Chapters: 26

Case: Custom Blu-ray case

Release date: April 7th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.4:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1557 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1557 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Downtime on the Set with Jim Carrey (3:59)

• Jim Carrey: Extreme Yes Man – Outrageous Stunts (11:52)

• Future Sounds: Munchausen by Proxy with Host Graham Summerset (5:28)

• 5 Munchausen by Proxy Music Videos (14:33)

• Additional Scenes (7:31)

• Gag Reel in 5.1 Audio (5:35)

Digital Copy

 

Exclusive to Blu-ray:

• On Set with Danny Wallace (8:32)

• Say Yes to Red Bull (2:06)

• Yes Man: Party Central with Rhys Darby (2:16)

• BD-Live

 

 

Comment:

The Movie: 6

I'm not sure why yet, but I think of this movie as a sort of deranged sequel to The Truman Show, where Truman gets the girl but loses her because he's had life handed to him to such extent that he collapsed into a spore once things didn't go right.  Of course, the idea would never have occurred to me if it weren't for Jim Carrey.  As Truman Burbank and here as Carl Allen, Carrey's character is afraid to reach outside himself.  In Peter Weir's movie, what was outside was carefully, even cynically manipulated to make certain he would remain locked inside his universe.  In Yes Man, Carl circumscribes his life so that he can be available to the phone in case his ex-wife calls.  This is serious pining.  The man needs a hard kick in the nether regions.

 

Enter Carl's long lost friend, Nick (John Michael Higgins), who stumbles into Carl's life like an elf.  Nick says "Yes" to just about every impulse, and the freedom he feels, even when it puts him in the sights of the police, is so liberating he wants Carl to have a taste.  Reluctantly, Carl finds his way to a meeting of Yes disciples, led by Terrence Bundley (Terrance Stamp), a cross between Werner Erhard, Elmer Gantry and Tony Robbins.  What with the combined forces of peer pressure, Bundley's persistent charisma and Carl's oddly formed guilt, Carl makes a pact to say "YES" to everything.  Never to say "NO." 

 

It's an intriguing idea – after all, we have only this one life to live, as far as we know, so why squander it closing ourselves from experience.

 

Carl takes the idea seriously.  He finds he's giving a ride to homeless man deep into Echo Park – only he forgets to check his gas gauge.  This could get ugly.  But ugly is not where this movie goes.  He soon meets Allison (Zooey Deschanel), just the right sort of free spirit to act as heart and rudder to Carl's newfound freedom.  Allison leads photo-jogs around Griffith Park by day and is the lead singer of a 4-piece girl band called "Munchausen by Proxy" by night.

 

Back at the bank where he works, Carl approves one wacky loan after another.  Good thing his boss (Rhys Darby) is a complete but very charming nut case, who somehow finds a way to be supportive of anything that might somehow remotely spell promotion.  And since his boss couldn't tell the difference between what might lead to moving up or down the food chain: Why not!

 

The substance, if that's the right word, of this movie – By the way, have I made it clear this is a comedy – consists of Carl's incredible adventures into the world of "Yes."  We're talking saying "Yes" to his elderly neighbor (Fionnula Flanagan) – oh, yes - talking a man out of jumping off a ledge, falling out of an airplane, bungee jumping.  That sort of thing.  Thing is that he's never told his new girlfriend about his contract to say "Yes" to everything, including her, so she doesn't know where Carl leaves off and Bundley begins.

 

For my money, what success this movie has rests with its supporting cast.  Carrey is doing a character he can play in his sleep – not that he sleepwalks through the movie, it's just that he's getting a little old for this sort of thing – or I am of him.  Terrance Stamp may or may not be putting us on as the YES-Evangelist, Bradley Cooper is Carl's untiring best friend, Rhys Darby is his wacky boss and Zooey Deschanel reminds me of that spontaneous, unstudied manner of the young Debra Winger as we saw her in Urban Cowboy and An Officer and a Gentleman.   She makes me wonder if the music she plays is actually worthwhile since I am completely convinced she is.  I can't tell whether I'm coming or going, which is exactly what Carl should be feeling, but somehow she seems to get swallowed up by his antics.

 

 

 

Image: 7/9  NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale.  The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The image is sharp enough with, most often, natural colors, while skin tones most often tend to be a little saturated and orangey.  The photography generally places the main actor in the light and everything else more in the shadows, yet there is detail without noise, while highlights such as Bundley's backlit hair retain color. I found no blemishes or distracting artifacts or enhancements, perhaps a wee bit of noise in the nighttime scene or two.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 8/8

I was impressed with the audio track's ability to differentiate club, restaurant and airport ambiance: no two places sound alike and the commotion and chatter from background extras have just the right amount of presence.  When the Munchausen band warms up, the stage comes alive with amped up, but undistorted sound.

 

Operations: 6

There is a trend lately for the menu to begin with the special features page.  It's more than a little disorienting.  In order to get to the chapter menu, you have to first hit Play Movie, then the Main Menu.  One nice thing about the features page is that it's huge and detailed.

 

 

 

Extras: 7

The extras, all in HD, tend to be sparse, but some of them are real gems:  I particularly liked the faux documentary "Future Sounds: Munchausen by Proxy" which wails on and on about this fabulous new band.  I also enjoyed the several full-length songs by the band itself (some just as they appeared in the movie, some new, some extended).  I don't see why, with songs like "uh-huh" this band shouldn't have a future.  And great fun is On Set with Danny Wallace (the author of the book) who, self-effacingly, stumbles around the set as if he is expected.  He's like what a Yes Man could be on a movie set.  Very droll.

 

 

Recommendation: 6

I can't think of a previous instance where I felt the extra features were more entertaining than the feature film – not on Blu-ray at any rate.  The film is pleasant enough, but the humor behind the humor can be gleaned in some of the bonus bits.  I can see myself returning to the extras rather than the movie.  By the bye, I should note that Blu-ray retails for only $1.00 more than the 2-disc DVD, which doesn't have On Set with Danny Wallace, Say Yes to Red Bull, or Yes Man: Party Central, and it's ALL in high definition.

 

Leonard Norwitz
April 7th, 2009

 


 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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