Yes Day, to its credit, quickly sets up its premise. Within ten minutes Allison (Jennifer Garner) and Carlos Torres (Edgar Ramirez) turn from a fun couple into the kind of couple who, in this economy, has three children they constantly worry about. Those kids tie them into obligations, like Carlos skipping a gym day for a PTA day.
That PTA day leads them to two teachers showing them a video that their middle child, Nando (Julian Lerner), edited to make Allison look like a momzilla who never says yes to them. Walking down the halls, a third teacher, Mr. Deacon (Nat Faxon), tells them about Yes Day, a day when they say yes to everything their children ask them.
Allison’s eldest, fourteen year old Katie (Jenna Ortega), makes things for interesting for the day. Katie doesn’t think that Allison can make it through the day without saying no, so she wagers an extra ticket to FleekFest, a fictional version of Coachella. If Allison wins, she gets the ticket, if not, Katie goes without adult supervision.
FleekFest might come up later, but to answer your question, Yes Day is bad but not bad enough to make childless viewers cranky. If anything, Garner and Ramirez get to hang out with child stars. And, during one of the movie’s set pieces involve what looks like a combination of paintball and capture the flag. Good day at work.
The film also shows its viewers montages of the family as they enjoy Magic Mountain. Then, it eventually gets to what these movies are about, like tensions between generations and overworked adults. There are, however, limits to the escapism here, where this family gets to play hooky while the people watching this are still working from home, etc.
The Torres’ Yes Day continues and surprisingly, these characters evolve. The kids could have stayed as harbingers of chaos to the chagrin of their anxious parents. But that evolution comes as Yes Day separates these characters and make realizations about themselves. But the more viewers watch this film, the more it seems like their evolution feels shoehorned.
Yes, that evolution comes with FleekFest, and Allison does something during that concert that Yes Day meant to be heartwarming but it ends up looking cringe-y. Those two tones coexist within the film’s final scenes but nether is powerful enough to cancel each other out. And that last impression marks the rest of the film and yes, I’m cranky now.
- Rated: PG
- Genre: Comedy, Family, Kids
- Release Date: 3/12/2021
- Directed by: Miguel Arteta
- Starring: Edgar Ramírez, Jenna Ortega, Jennifer Garner, Julian Lerner, Nat Faxon
- Produced by: Ben Everard, Daniel Rappaport, Jennifer Garner, Lawrence Grey, Nicole King
- Written by: Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Justin Malen, Tom Lichtenheld
- Studio: Entertainment 360, Grey Matters Productions