Always feeling like they have to say “no” to their kids, Allison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos Torres (Édgar Ramírez) decide to give their three kids a “Yes Day,” during which the kids have twenty-four hours to make the rules.
Why does Hollywood keep handing over the directing keys to Miguel Arteta? With last year’s Like a Boss and now Yes Day, it is clear that he certainly isn’t the best director working today. His films in the past, while not aimed strictly towards kids, still feel like they are. Yes Day is the first movie of his that is aimed primarily towards a young audience.
I genuinely cannot see anybody over the age of maybe eight laughing at this film. It’s filled to the brim with childish humor and a story that’s so over-the-top and non-realistic to the point of absurdity. Lots of youngsters are going to find some of the poop and puke jokes funny, but kids of a more mature age, as well as adults, are going to find this film quite the eye-roller.
The film mostly plays out like a really bad television sitcom. There is technically a large cast of characters, but by the end of the story, I really didn’t get to know who they were, and also, I didn’t laugh along with them. To be completely honest, as corny and as unrealistic as the premise is, with the right script, it could have been an innocent and funny ride for the whole family. Instead, though, we are given a script with no depth, wit, or charm to it whatsoever. Things just kind of happen without any rhyme or reason, and there were a couple of moments that genuinely made me mouth the words “What am I watching?”.
It’s an endless series of random events that get increasingly dumber and even more boring than the last. In one scene that feels like it lasts an eternity, Allison, her family, and a plethora of other children start a gigantic Kool-Aid balloon fight complete with Michael Bay-style editing, slow-motion, and you guessed it, a modern song for the Millenials to enjoy.
To be truthful though, the film is totally harmless and it’s not like watching it is going to be the worst thing you could ever do with your day. There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of worse movies out there that are more torturous than this. If anything, this movie was underwhelming.
And I understand that this was created as a family movie, but I couldn’t help but feel like this movie was far too sanitized and kid-friendly. There was absolutely nothing in this script that adults could enjoy. It’s one of those weird movies that, maybe a couple of years from now, will be talked about by people that remember seeing it and going “Oh yeah! That movie… what happened in it again?”.
Overall Grade: D
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude and suggestive material, and brief language
Directed by: Miguel Arteta
Distributed by: Netflix
Release Date: March 12, 2021
Running Time: 86 minutes