(director: Miguel Arteta; screenwriters: Justin Malen/kid book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld; cinematographer: Terry Stacey; editor: Jay Deuby; music: Michael Andrews; cast: Jennifer Garner (Allison Torres), Edgar Ramírez (Carlos Torres), Jenna Ortega (Katie Torres), Julian Lerner (Nando Torres), Everly Carganilla (Ellie Torres), H.E.R. (H.E.R), Arturo Castro (Officer Jones), Fortune Feimster (Jean the Paramedic), Nat Faxon (Mr. Deacon), Molly Sims (hiring executive), Tracie Thoms (Billie/Concert Coordinator), Megan Stott (Layla), Yimmy Yim (Tara), Snowden Grey (Hailey Peterson); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: PG; producer: Lawrence Grey, Ben Everard, Daniel Rappaport, Nicole King Solaka, Jennifer Garner; Netflix/Grey Matters Production; 2021)
“Chances are you’ll be sorry you didn’t say No to Yes Day.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The low-brow family comedy by the born in Puerto Rico director Miguel Arteta (“Like A Boss”/”Star Maps”) is a waste of time watching if you’re looking for a good comedy or parenting advice. It’s inanely written by Justin Malen from the children’s book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld. The premise is that for a 24-hour period, you let your parental judgment rest and you give your children anything they ask for. If you’re an adult and say Yes to this simplistic sitcom premise, chances are you’ll be sorry you didn’t say No to Yes Day.
The easy-going Carlos and his uptight controlling wife Allison Torres (Edgar Ramirez & Jennifer Garner) are raising three energetic kids–the 14-year-old Katie (Jenna Ortega), their middle son Nando (Julian Lerner) and their youngest daughter Ellie (Everly Carganilla) — who are driving Allison mad with all their antics. Mom is tired of being looked upon as always saying no to the kids, while the lenient hubby gets all their love. When on school night mom is criticized by the educators for being so harsh on her children, after a video Nando made for his class project of his family at home is shown to them. As a result, Allison relents and cedes the kids a “yes day,” where they choose what they want to do and she and her hubby must accept their choices.
The family-friendly flick follows this children’s adventure story, with all the comedic beats being predictable, uninteresting and silly. The family partakes in an ice cream eating contest for breakfast, drive through a carwash with the windows down, wear silly costumes in public and engage in capture-the-flag/paintball game with some strangers. The respective lessons learned by the parents and the kids is that parenting is a two-way street, whereby children must learn parents have a right to say no when they think that’s best and parents must learn to listen to their children when they’re not happy. (Gee whiz!).
It’s an unimaginative and safe film, one that wastes your time as it tries desperately for some comedy out of its gimmicky premise.
REVIEWED ON 4/5/2021 GRADE: C