Australian Council on Children and the Media

Yes Man

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Not suitable under 10, PG to 13 due to lack of interest , sexual references and coarse language

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Yes Man
  • a review of Yes Man completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 1 January 2009.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to lack of interest, sexual references and coarse language.
Children aged 10-13 Parental guidance recommended due to sexual references and coarse language
Children over the age of 13 OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Yes Man
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references and coarse language
Length 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is a sad lonely man who has had the same job as a loans officer in a bank for the last 5 years. His marriage failed three years previously and he spends each evening alone watching videos and refusing to attend social functions. He spends all his time saying ‘no.’ No to the people who want loans, no to going out, no to everyone and everything. Then one day he meets Nick (John Michael Higgins), an old friend who he hasn’t seen for 10 years. Nick has become a ‘yes’ man after attending the ‘Yes’ seminar run by the charismatic Terrence Bundly (Terence Stamp). Carl is dragged along to one of these by Nick. Once there he is put in the spotlight and forced to agree that he will start saying yes to everything.
From the time that he leaves the seminar he starts saying yes, and surprising things begin to happen. He meets a very nice girl Allison (Zooey Deschanel), learns Korean and also to fly and play the guitar. He is promoted and his social life expands. When at times he says no bad things seem to happen and he believes that he has to say yes all the time. This leads to the inevitable misunderstandings and comic adventures and it’s the left to Carl to work out exactly when you actually should say yes.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Marriage breakdown; life choices

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • There is a fight at the beginning of the movie because Carl kisses someone else’s girlfriend and the boyfriend takes him outside. He punches Carl a couple of times and knocks him over. Carl is so drunk he behaves in a ridiculous way.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under five, including the following:

  • Nick throws a rock at a bank window. This is supposed to be comedy but may not be understood as such by young children who may be concerned or may want to emulate this.
  • In one scene Carl is at home watching some sort of horror movie where a man is about to cut his leg off. This will be viewed as comedy by an adult audience as Carl is so bored he just wants the man to cut off his leg, but the scene may worry some children.
  • Carl has a nightmare that he is dead. Younger children may not understand this but the older end of this age group may find this scene worrying.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes and children in this age group may also be concerned by a scene where a person is trying to commit suicide by jumping from a building and Carl rescues him.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children in this age group are unlikely to be scared by anything in this film.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • BMW
  • Coca Cola
  • A Ducati motor bike

Sexual references

There is sexual humour and innuendo in this movie, including:

  • Terrence says that Carl “can’t summon the enthusiasm to masturbate”
  • An old lady offers Carl ‘sexual release’ in return for putting up shelves and a friend later talks about her “talents”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Several of the characters kiss.Carl grabs and kisses someone who is not a girlfriend but just someone he meets in a bar.
  • There is a scene where one of Carl’s neighbours, an old lady gets him into her flat to help put up her shelves and then offers him ‘sexual release’ as payment. They end up on her bed, she puts her dentures in a glass on the bedside table, moves down the bed, and then Carl starts making amazed sounds and the rest is left up to the imagination. Later one of his friends meets her and explains that he has heard about her talents and then leaves a party with her
  • Towards the end of the film Carl is riding a motorbike in a hospital gown, without any underwear and you have a clear view of his buttocks.
  • At the end of the film there is a large crowd of people who have no clothes on and are covering breast and genitals with pieces of paper – naked buttocks are shown.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:There are several scenes where the characters are drinking and one scene where Carl gets very drunk to the point where he is swaying about. He is also pictured on the floor of his toilet the next day.

Coarse language

There is some coarse language in this movie, including

  • fucking
  • shitcanned
  • dickhole
  • my arse

In a nutshell

Yes Man is a comedy based on the 2005 biography of the same name by British humorist Danny Wallace. It is likely to be enjoyed by older teenagers and Jim Carrey fans, but is not a film for younger children.

The main message of the film is that if you don’t try something then you will never have the opportunity to learn from the experience and that good things can come from ‘giving it a go’. The other side of the coin is that you need to think about the choices you make and the possible ramifications.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with older children include listening to others honesty the importance of friendship

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