In Miguel Arteta’s Yes Day, Allison Torres (Jennifer Garner) was once the most fun person she had ever met. She used to skydive, mountain climb, explore, you name it; she was completely undaunted. Then, she had kids. She found herself saying no to everything, denying her kids the adventures in life that once fueled her. Fed up, her kids decide to challenge her and their father Carlos (Édgar Ramírez) to a Yes Day. 24-hours, no rules, no punishments, and most importantly: no saying no.
Yes Day is the exact light-hearted, wholesome family comedy you would expect it to be. This proves to be a double-edged sword. Although it is an undeniably warm and inviting film, nothing about Yes Day is particularly surprising or unique. Jennifer Garner reprises the same role of ‘loving mother’ that we have repeatedly seen throughout the last several years. The film follows the general themes present in most family comedies, such as mother-daughter rivalry, marital misunderstandings, the fear of letting go, and balancing family with work. Although the film doesn’t feel subversive or novel, this isn’t to its downfall. Thanks to charismatic characters and a heartfelt script, the events in Yes Day feel expected – but not formulaic.
Arteta’s 2021 release is, at its best, familiar and comfortable – and not entirely in a bad way. Yes Day knows its purpose, its place, and its intended audience. The average viewer won’t go into this movie expecting a revolutionary cinematographic experience, they will go in expecting an hour and a half of charming and easy-to-watch fun. And that is exactly what they’ll get. Yes Day is a great movie to watch after a long day to wind down. It’s a great movie to watch with the family and have some time of levity and pure entertainment. With exciting theme park adventures, water-balloon fights, ice-cream for breakfast, house parties, a music festival that isn’t what a character expected it to be, and even a quick jail-time sentence, the film proves to be every bit of familial fun it was marketed to be. Older audiences will likely enjoy this sweet picture just as much as younger audiences.
Music fans will find themselves getting a treat with a quick cameo from H.E.R. at the movies’ climax. Through her sweet interaction with Allison, her role as a catalyst in reuniting mother and daughter, and a song performed at a music festival, H.E.R fans will be more than happy to know that her appearance is significant and endearing. And those viewers who didn’t know of H.E.R before will now definitely finish the film with a peaked interest.
Overall, Yes Day is a fun-filled sentimental film that checks all of the boxes of what a family comedy should be. Filled with charming characters performed by equally likable actors, Yes Day delivers admirable life lessons to younger and older audiences alike. Following the dream of any young kid to have a whole day where your parents can only say “yes”, the movie wonderfully encaptures a childhood innocence that audiences of all ages will find themselves coming back to. While breathing life into a Venezuelan-American household and showing the ups and downs of everyday family life, Yes Day is successful in being exactly what it intended to be.
Yes Day released on March 12, 2021 and is available to stream on Netflix.