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Friday, July 23, 2021

    ‘Yes Day’ – Don’t say no

    Ben Nietzel
    Ben Nietzel works as the principal of Saints Mary and Mathias Catholic School. He also enjoys coaching Muskie football and reviewing movies.

    Muscatine Living

    “Yes Day” is the latest family release from streaming giant Netflix. Tired of the struggle and fight of being the responsible parents that say, “no,” Allison and Carlos Torres decide to give their kids a “yes day” on which they can’t say no to any requests.

    Pro – family entertainment

    “Yes Day” is aimed squarely at the family, and it hits this mark. Jennifer Garner plays Allison, a working mom who has transformed from the life of any party to responsible mother who feels like all she ever can say is, “no.” Edgar Ramirez plays her husband, Carlos, the fun dad who tries to leave his autocratic ways at work. The Torres family also has three children who, of course, get up to some mischief. “Yes Day” has laughs that will keep parents interested and antics that will keep kids enthralled. It also does a nice job of not trying to be secretly edgy for the adult crowd, an all-too-common issue in modern “family” movies.

    Pro – Cool Dad

    Maybe the best part of “Yes Day” is that Allison and Carlos are normal parents. The premise is that they say no a lot, but they aren’t unreasonable–they’re just good parents. Mom is not some dictator that won’t allow any fun, and it’s hard to fault her for setting the main plot line by not allowing her tween daughter to go to a music festival by herself. Ramirez’s Carlos is great, as he avoids Hollywood’s favorite modern stereotype of the buffoon father whose either completely checked out or just a grown child that mom has to constantly take care of. Carlos is a fun dad, but that just means he gets excited about things and sings popular songs with his kids in the car, not that he’s greenlighting filling a swimming pool with Jell-O and firecrackers. The kids certainly get up to some hijinks to make the movie exciting, but they aren’t malicious. They are kids you don’t mind spending some time around.

    Neutral – cookie cutter

    “Yes Day” is a right down the middle family film. It’s fun, it’s wholesome, and it’s entertaining. The plot moves along, spurred on at times by outlandish and, of course, preposterous events. It doesn’t linger, but certainly it takes some unbelievable turns to arrive at the lesson learned. There’s nothing wrong with it being unrealistic at times, but just understand this is not high art. “Yes Day” is formulaic, predictable, and easily consumed and discarded. There isn’t much here to stick with you or take away. That’s not necessarily a criticism, as a family night watching something everyone can enjoy has a value all its own. Just don’t expect “Yes Day” to be a movie you carry with you past its credits.

    “Yes Day” is a lot of fun. The characters are very likeable, and while completely unrealistic at times, the story is wholesome, fun, and includes a nice moral. It is certainly not a modern classic, but it has no pretenses to be. It’s a high quality TV dinner, meant to be consumed and easily forgotten. It’s a solid choice for a family looking for a “night in” movie. Pack the family into the station wagon and head over to the Fridley Palms Theatre to grab some popcorn before settling in on the coach to watch this one!

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