For the kids, yes, for everyone else, no.
Take the raunchy comedy out of “Hall Pass,” and the Jim Carrey out of “Yes Day,” and add a bunch of millennials and frazzled parents, and you have “Yes Day,” which I’m going to have to say no to. It has its good intentions about families coming together and the obligatory mother-daughter relationship, but it all feels forced and labored. It stars Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramirez as the main parents, and they have to find themselves in routine and embarrassing situations like the dad landing on his crotch on a tree, and the mom attacking another woman for a prized stuffed gorilla.
Before they had kids, the parents named Allison and Carlos used to say yes to everything. But now they have kids, it’s always no, no, no. Their eldest daughter (Jenna Ortega) wants to go to a H.E.R. concert fest, their son (Julian Lerner) wants to make waffle volcanos, and their youngest daughter (Everly Carganilla) wants to do their make-up. But the answer is no.
Then, they decide to have a Yes Day, which means for 24 hours, the kids make the rules and the parents have to say yes. They engage in Kool Aid balloon fights, eating a big ice cream bowl in under 30 minutes, and leaving the car windows down during a car wash. And later, we get a house party with foam bombs, which actually looks engaging.
Now, those segments are engaging and fun, but there movie has to rely on all these typical kid movie cliches, which includes parents getting splattered all over, toilet humor, and the youngsters telling the parents no. And it also has to have the daughter make a bet with the mom that if she says no, she gets to go to the concert by herself.
Garner and Ramirez are both fine actors, and they do have their moments, but they didn’t need to embarrass themselves with the movie’s choice of humor. “Yes Day” was directed by Miguel Arteta, who previously guided Garner in the film version of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.” That was a funny and honest movie, while this one is formulaic and frazzled.
It’s streaming on Netflix, and I’m sure parents and kids will be salvaging to see it. It has everything they would enjoy in a “Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius” sort of way, and kids are kids. I was a kid myself, but when I got older, I got to see better things. So, for the kids, yes, but if you’re outside it’s targeted audience, the answer is no.
Streaming on Netflix