Mormon Fray

The Archive of Incidental Mormon References in Pop Culture...

Yes Man (2008)

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2008, Dir. Peyton Reed

Context: Carl Allen (Jim Carrey) is an asocial guy who says no to everything in his life. He is content to watch videos alone at home, avoids commitments, and neglects his friends. Eventually an acquaintance forces Allen to a self-improvement seminar where the mantra is "yes". Slowly, Allen comes to embrace "yes" as a way of life, and resolves to say "yes" to every opportunity. This leads to a montage (excerpted in the clip below) where we see some of the things Allen is willing to say "yes" to...

Yes Man

Exegesis: It used to be that Jehovah's Witnesses were the go-to religious missionaries for a door-to-door gag. Mormon Missionaries have been cropping up a lot more, it seems. In most of these instances, with very few exceptions, movies and television shows get one (or more) of the following three things wrong about missionaries:
  • They are not wearing black name tags.
  • They identify the Church incorrectly, usually as "The Church of Latter-Day Saints," (omitting the less-funny "of Jesus Christ" part).
  • Utterly uncharacteristic (and usually fanatical) rhetoric.
Incidentally, on that last point, Mormon missionaries-at-the-door seem to be portrayed mostly as clueless moon-eyed zealots, spouting generic born-again platitudes or asking inane new-age questions. (Last Days was one movie that actually gave the missionaries things to say that some [albeit less-effective] Mormon missionaries might actually say.)

Yes Man only misses the first point in that list – no black name tag. Surprisingly, the movie does give the full, correct name of the Church, and doesn't even follow it up with a clarifying "You know, 'The Mormons'!"

The only other logistical problem I can see with this scene is that if Jim Carrey's character has to say yes to everything, (and assuming the missionaries were doing their job), he'd definitely be baptized into the Church before the end of the movie...
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