The Reel Review
Jennifer Garner and Edgar Ramírez (The Undoing, American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace) star in this cheery Netflix family comedy about parents who agree to a day of saying yes to whatever family activities their kids want them to do, after their kids complain that they (in particular, mom) have become too strict and are no longer fun to be around.
Geared towards very young children, this bland, breezy film plays out like a silly mashup of a Nickelodeon kids reality show and really corny John Cena kiddie slapstick, just with Garner in the lead role. If watching a family gorge themselves on ice cream and ride through a car wash with the windows down sounds like your idea of a rip-roaring good time (i.e. if you are either 5 years old or really stoned), then by all means, this is the cinematic masterpiece for you.
The immensely likable Garner leans heavily on her charming public persona to carry Yes Day’s dated script, with a nice assist by Grammy award-winning entertainer H.E.R. in the finalé. There are also cameos from comedian Fortune Feimster, Megan Stott (Little Fires Everywhere) and supermodel Molly Sims.
For such a blatantly kid-focused story, Yes Day, based on the late Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s 2009 children’s book, does have some serious adult moments and its ethnic diversity is a nice touch. The film’s takeaway – that parents have rules for a reason – is hardly groundbreaking, but at least its unspoken theme of family bonding time is nice to see.
• Yes Day director Miguel Arteta (Beatriz at Dinner, Like a Boss) previously directed Jennifer Garner in 2014’s Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.
• Jennifer Garner wore the same pearl choker with crystal flowers in her wedding day flashback in Yes Day that she wore in her charming 2004 comedy, 13 Going on 30.
• Jenna Ortega and Everly Carganilla both appeared in the TV series Jane The Virgin. Ortega played a young Jane and Carganilla played baby Jane.
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