Yes Day, starring and produced by Jennifer Garner, ends up being a kind of Animal House for kids. Based on a book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, the movie posits that if you give your children one Yes Day – with some limits – they will not mind all the times you say “No” to them on other days. Plus, you will get to know your kids better and vice-versa.
Directed by Miguel Arteta from Justin Malen’s screenplay, this family comedy includes lots of action, but some of it goes on way too long. The outrageous party-at-home sequence seems reminiscent of that famous John Belushi movie mentioned above. Although it includes some very funny bits by youngsters, this part of the movie appears too far-fetched and out of control.
Garner said in a recent T.V. interview that she wanted Yes Day to be a joyful film for the entire family. And her wish comes true during some charming scenes. For example, Garner’s character tries to get reunited with her attractive and rebellious teenage daughter (Jenna Ortega) at a concert featuring the real H.E.R. During this crowded musical event, Garner shows off her sweet singing voice, which makes us smile and feel warm all over. Another priceless scene involves the darling youngest daughter (Everly Carganilla), singing her lungs out along with her cheerful dad (Edgar Ramirez) while he’s driving her to school. And we also feel joyful when the precocious middle child (Julian Lerner) realizes he’s gone too far with his scientific experiments.
A mom says no most all the time.
To all three kids, that seems a crime.
One sees her as a dictator.
Another begins to hate her.
Dad always is such a good guy.
Watch closely and you’ll find out why.
Mom used to have a lot of fun.
Are all her joyful days now done?
But she agrees to one YES DAY.
She thinks that might just pave the way
to change how the kids think of her.
Rambunctious fun ensues, for sure!
I’ve been a Garner fan for a long time. As I’ve written before, her acting always intrigues me whether she’s doing comedy in 13 Going on 30 or busting chops in action-packed dramas like Elektra and the TV Alias series. I think her work in 2012’s Butter as an unsympathetic character is my favorite. She excels in that role. She’s funny, pathetic and extremely annoying but absolutely perfect. My admiration for Garner’s acting continues to grow. However, I have to admit Yes Day does not include one of her best performances. Maybe as the film’s producer, she had to be like the character she plays – a mom whose main goal is making everything work out, even if the price means losing something of herself.
There is no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one. --- Jill Churchill
(Released by Netflix and rated “PG” by MPAA.)